Left Hanging: There Were Warning Signs Aplenty Before Edward Crisante Jr. Hanged Himself in a Broward Jail

Edward Crisante Jr., a depressive 32-year-old, turned himself in at the Broward Main Jail on June 29, 2010, after failing to appear in court on traffic charges. He left the jail four days later on a stretcher after hanging himself in his bunk with a bedsheet. He died in the hospital.

Now Crisante's parents are suing Broward Sheriff Al Lamberti for "failing to prevent [Crisante's] suicide" by withholding proper care and supervision. A report summarizing BSO's investigation of the death, never before released to the public, seems to support the accusations.

When he checked into the jail, Crisante told the EMT examining him that he had tried to kill himself a few days earlier by overdosing on Roxicodone and Xanax. The EMT made a note calling him "Suicidal, place on suicide watch, urgent referral." According to the report, "Crisante was sent to the infirmary" a few miles away, "where he would have been placed on suicide watch. Due to the fact that there were no cells available, Crisante was sent back to the main jail."

Two nights later, Deputy Eugenia Williams-Cooper found him "banging on his cell door." He told her "that he couldn't stop shaking and that he felt like something was coming out of his skin." (Crisante had been addicted to painkillers in the past, and these may have been symptoms of withdrawal.)

The next night, he banged on the door again and asked Williams-Cooper if anyone had come to bail him out. In response to the noise he was making, "Williams-Cooper removed Crisante from Cell 13 and she placed him in Cell 15 by himself," the report says. "He never complained or talked about hurting himself or committing suicide."

Just before 7 a.m., Deputy Danny Polk made the rounds. He passed each of the eight cells on the top floor overlooking the day room, then walked along the row of cells downstairs. When he reached the last one, Cell 15, he found Crisante alone, hanging from the top bunk.

BSO's investigation cleared the agency of any wrongdoing, and BSO declined further comment. The lawyer representing Crisante's estate was unavailable for comment by presstime.

 
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