Tahlequah Daily Press

Local News

September 10, 2007

Man found hanged in detention center

TAHLEQUAH DAILY PRESS — A Cherokee County man died late Thursday after hanging himself in his cell at the county detention center.

Aaron Colby Riddle, 22, was alone in his cell when a CCDC detention officer found him about 10:45 p.m. Undersheriff Jason Chennault said it appears Riddle used a T-shirt or some type of bed spread and tied one end around a high point on a top bunk and put the other around his neck and sat down.

Chennault said Riddle was facing the wall and his feet were on the floor. He said Riddle was last seen alive around 7:45 p.m.

"They took the noose from around his neck and started CPR," Chennault said of the detention center staff. "Ambulance personnel arrived and pronounced him dead."

Chennault said the sheriff's office was contacted by a CCDC supervisor. CCDC Administrator Loyd Bickel was hired by Cherokee County commissioners last year to run the 150-bed facility. Bickel reports to a five-member Cherokee County Governmental Building Authority.

Riddle was booked into the jail last Tuesday morning after his arrest by sheriff's deputies for some burglaries in the Pettit Bay area. Chennault said Riddle left a note on the wall of his cell.

His body was sent to the state medical examiner's office for an autopsy.

Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation Spokeswoman Jessica Brown said that agency was called in to do a partial investigation.

"We took some pictures and collected some evidence," Brown said Friday morning.

The Oklahoma State Health Department and the jail inspection division have also been contacted about Riddle's death.

Chennault said the investigation into the incident is ongoing. Bickel said an administrative investigation is also ongoing by CCDC staff.

Chennault said the inmate death is the first in the county jail at either its new or former location in the nine years he has worked for the sheriff's office.

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