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Frederick County prosecutor promises thorough probe into Down syndrome man's death

February 20, 2013

FREDERICK, Md. — Frederick County's top prosecutor is promising a thorough investigation into the death in police custody of a man with Down syndrome.

State's Attorney Charlie Smith said Wednesday he hadn't yet seen the investigative file sent by the Frederick County Sheriff's Office on the death of 26-year-old Robert Ethan Saylor.

Saylor died of asphyxiation Jan. 12 after three sheriff's deputies tried to forcibly remove him from a Frederick movie theater at the manager's request. The state medical examiner's office has ruled the death a homicide.

Smith says his office will conduct its own investigation before deciding whether to bring criminal charges against the officers, or whether to present evidence to a grand jury.

He says the timing of those decisions depends on whether the police file is complete.

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