ATLANTA (ABC7) -- A man who died in a bedbug-infested cell in a Georgia jail's psychiatric wing "died due to severe neglect," according to an independent autopsy released Monday by lawyers for his family.
Lashawn Thompson, 35, died in September, 3 months after he was booked into the Fulton County Jail in Atlanta. Public outrage over his death spread last month after a lawyer for his family, Michael Harper, released photos of Thompson's face & body covered in insects.
The independent autopsy report lists the cause of death as "Complications due to Severe Neglect," with "Untreated Decompensated Schizophrenia" identified as a contributing cause.
A combination of dehydration, rapid weight loss & malnutrition, complicated by untreated decompensated schizophrenia led to a fatal cardiac arrythmia, the report says. Because he did not receive necessary medical care or adequate food, water & shelter, his manner of death is homicide.
An earlier report from the Fulton County medical examiner's office found no obvious signs of trauma on Thompson's body but noted a "severe bed bug infestation." It lists his cause of death as "undetermined."
The new autopsy "confirms that this is one of the most deplorable in-custody deaths in the history of America," said prominent civil rights attorney Ben Crump, who represents the family.
Thompson had lost 32 pounds, or about 18% of his body weight, during his 3 months at the Fulton County Jail & showed evidence of dehydration, the report says. In addition to an "innumerable number of insects" all over his body, his hands, feet, fingernails & toenails were filthy, it says.
Medical records from the jail indicate that Thompson received his last dose of the medications he'd been prescribed for his mental health issues 32 days before his death.
The independent autopsy was paid for by the Autopsy Initiative of the Know Your Rights Camp, an initiative started by former NFL star & activist Colin Kaepernick.
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