Investigations underway after man commits suicide in Riverside jail

The Suffolk County Correctional Facility in Riverside. (Credit: Barbaraellen Koch, file)
The Suffolk County Correctional Facility in Riverside. (Credit: Barbaraellen Koch, file)

Officials at the Suffolk County Correctional Facility in Riverside confirmed they are investigating the recent death of an inmate who committed suicide in his cell by hanging himself.

Scott Yarwood, 34, of Wantagh died Dec. 3 at Stony Brook University Hospital, said chief deputy sheriff Michael Sharkey. 

Mr. Yarwood was found about 12:15 p.m. Nov. 29 and was initially transported to Peconic Bay Medical Center by ambulance volunteers. He was later transferred to Stony Brook, where he died days later, Mr. Sharkey said.

An internal investigation into Mr. Yarwood’s death is underway, he said, and officials with the New York State Commission of Corrections will also complete their own investigation, which is standard procedure following the death of an inmate in custody.

“There was nothing indicating this was anything other than a suicide,” Mr. Sharkey said. “It was discovered by a corrections officer doing his normal supervisory tour of the housing area.”

According to Newsday, Mr. Yarwood’s died of asphyxiation. He reportedly hanged himself with a laundry bag.

He was being held on misdemeanor charges of menacing and criminal mischief and had been taken into custody Nov. 28, officials said.

Mr. Sharkey said the facility had not been notified of any potential mental health status when Mr. Yarwood was taken into custody.

“There are times when an inmate would come in with a notation on his court paperwork stating that they have one [heath] issue or another that need to be addressed, and it wouldn’t be limited to a mental status,” he said. “That was not the case here.”

The family’s attorney, Laurence Weingard of Manhattan, said, “Scott was a lovely young man who had never been convicted of a crime and had been suffering form mental illness. The police were aware of his deteriorating mental status at the time of his arrest and they, together with the sheriff’s officials, should have taken all appropriate measures to prevent this horrible tragedy.

“His heartbroken family is considering all legal options in order to obtain justice from those responsible for his needless death,” Mr. Weingard added.

As of Wednesday, Mr. Sharkey said, jail officials had not been notified of any legal action being taken by the family.

The last successful suicide at the jail occurred April 2010, he said.

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