Family wants answers after man hangs self with sock in jail

- Police are investigating and his family is fighting is answers after a man allegedly hung himself in the Wayne County Jail.

"I watched him take his last breath," said Sallie Schultz, the man's mother.

On Monday, she took her son 35-year-old Billy Adams off life support.

He'd been brain dead for nine days, but she didn't know he was hospitalized until Wednesday of last week, when Wayne County sheriff's deputies knocked on her door.

"He said do you know William Adams? I said that's my son, why?" Schultz said. "He said well he's in receiving hospital and he's been there for four days. We can't tell you why, we can't tell you nothing."

Adams had been locked up on a probation violation for a drug charge on Jan. 11.

He ended up at Detroit receiving hospital on Jan. 14, then in hospice at Harper Hospital.

They were told he hung himself.

"The doctor said he was strangled with a sock," said his brother, Robert Adams.

On Tuesday the medical examiner ruled the death a suicide, but his family wants to know how was he able to hang himself in the jail where inmates are supposed to be supervised.

"Why was not somebody seeing this go on?" Robert said.

"I want to know why it was allowed to happen," Schultz said.

Wayne County Undersheriff Dan Pfannes says Adams was in a cell by himself on the mental health floor.

His clothing had been taken away and he'd been given a paper gown for his safety.

Officials say Adams still had his socks and used them to hang himself.

"There was increased precautions that were being taken to attempt to monitor his movements. But the fact is he had a small opportunity, a small window of time, and unfortunately he reached a tragic decision about what he wanted to do, and there was just no way to prevent that," Pfannes said.

Guards and medical staff discovered him and tried to save him, but he was brain dead.

Now now an investigation is underway by Detroit police and Wayne County.

"We're also going to do an internal administration review to make sure that our officers followed all their protocol, but on a surface skim analysis, it appears that everything was done appropriately," Pfannes said.

"I'm not going to accept this and we're going to go as far as we can to get justice for my kid brother. Simple as that," Robert said.


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