WTVM Editorial: 7/9/17: Jail deaths deserve answers

(WTVM) - Three untimely deaths of inmates in custody at the Muscogee County Jail since January certainly warrants attention and answers from Sheriff Donna Tompkins.

So far, it seems like she is doing her best to share the information she can make public, in an effort to get everyone's questions answered.

Last week, Sheriff Tompkins held a news conference to provide some important details on the deaths of the three inmates inside the jail.

The first inmate to die was Roger Tyler in January. His death has been ruled a suicide.

The second inmate to die was Undra Williams in April.

Sheriff Tompkins says Williams death does not appear to have been foul play but instead was due to a ruptured aorta.

The third inmate, Feaginess Wood, Jr., died on July 1st in his cell from as yet undetermined causes.

Each of these deaths is certainly a tragedy and our sympathies are with the families experiencing the loss of a loved one, no matter how they died.

Sheriff Tompkins is right to pledge a thorough investigation and she brought in the Georgia Bureau of Investigation to ensure an unbiased, impartial review of the facts.

The Sheriff says while every death in jail is unfortunate, deaths in jail do happen and they can't always be prevented or predicted.

We do need more answers and more details as soon as the investigation is complete.

And if anyone at the jail fell down on the job in relation to how these cases were handled, then we should know that, too.

But a good, thorough investigation will take time.

It seems Sheriff Tompkins is doing all she can right now to be upfront and open about what happened inside the jail, and that's the most important step to getting every question answered.

General Manager Holly Steuart brings two editorials a week to WTVM. If you would like to respond to an editorial, e-mail your response to hsteuart@wtvm.com or write to:

WTVM Editorial Committee

1909 Wynnton Road

Columbus, GA 31906

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