Jail death ruled a suicide

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Autopsy shows wounds were self-inflicted

An autopsy concluded suicide was the cause of the March 24 death of a California man who was being held in the Barry County jail last week.

Arnolfo Quintana-Morales, 58, of San Bernardino, Calif., was being held on a $5 million cash bond as a fugitive from out of state, wanted for allegedly smuggling drugs.

Three inmates found Quintana-Morales at about 9:15 p.m. March 24 after he used his pants in what was ruled a suicide after an autopsy was performed in Springfield.

"The autopsy showed his wounds were self-inflicted," said Mick Epperly, Barry County sheriff. "[Quintana-Morales] will now be sent back to his family for a funeral."

Epperly said he spoke with investigators in California about Quintana-Morales, who can not be prosecuted now that he has died.

"I had never seen a bond that high," Epperly said. "The lieutenant in California said he was very active in the drug situation out there, and that's why they were looking for him."

Epperly said Quintana-Morales went to court on March 24 and seemed to be OK, but was found dead by the three inmates not long after after jailers performed their hourly checks. The three inmates that found Quintana-Morales have been interviewed and cleared of any wrong-doing.

Epperly said Quintana-Morales was alone in Pod B at the time of the incident, as the jail was not yet in lockdown and inmates were moving about. There was no note left at the scene.

Quintana-Morales was transported to Fohn Funeral Home, and the autopsy was performed on March 25. Quintana-Morales's wife, who lives in New Mexico, was also been notified.

Quintana-Morales was arrested on March 21 in a traffic stop and signed his waiver of extradition, to be picked up by California authorities, on March 25.

Epperly said it has been many years since a suicide has occurred in the jail, and while they are not common, the jailers deal with a lot of suicidal people.

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