A lawyer for the man’s family says that bed bugs killed the man in a local jail, where he was being held.
The family of 35-year-old Lashawn Thompson wants a criminal investigation into Thompson’s death and wants a local jail to be shut down and replaced. They say Thompson died in jail from bed bugs in a dirty cell.
Thompson was in the Fulton County Jail in Atlanta because he was charged with a crime. After figuring out that Thompson had mental health problems, jail staff put him in the psychiatric unit. They also said that he was physically healthy.
Three months after he was caught, on September 13, 2022, Thompson’s body was found in a broken-down cell that was dirty and full of bugs. The Washington Post said that the cell was so dirty that an employee had to wear a chemical suit to go in.
A lawyer for the Thompson family, Michael Harper, told Insider, “They pretty much just left him there.”
“They had planned to take him to the medical observation unit, but that didn’t happen, and they found him dead, eaten by these bed bugs.”
The Post said that Thompson’s family in Alabama didn’t know he was in jail. They only found out when the police told them about his death.
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Autopsy Didn’t Found Out the Reason for Thompson’s Death
The police were unable to bring Thompson back to life in his cell. A later autopsy didn’t find out why Thompson died, but it did say that there were “extremely severe” bugs on his body and a “severe bed bug infestation” in his cell.
The report also said that Thompson had cuts and scars all over his body that showed he had picked at his skin.
Harper shared graphic photos that show how bad Thompson’s cell was and how many bugs were all over him.
The tweet below confirms the news:
Man found dead eaten by bed bugs in Atlanta jail, lawyer says https://t.co/QLaOKHG6HW
— The Guardian (@guardian) April 15, 2023
During a news conference on Thursday, Brad McCrae, Thompson’s brother, said that the photos were hard for the family to look at. “It broke my heart because no one should have to look like that. McCrae said, “No one should see that.”
In a statement to WSB-TV, the Fulton county sheriff’s office said that a full investigation has been started into Thompson’s death and that $500,000 has been set aside to deal with rat problems in the jail.
The sheriff’s office also said that the Georgia Bureau of Investigations will decide if criminal charges should be filed after a probe.
The family said that they are glad that people are trying to make jails better, but that more needs to be done.
“Looking at those pictures, that jail cell was awful. How did they get there in the first place?” He told the Post this. “It’s not even fit for an animal.”
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