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Butler County inmate's death ruled suicide

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

FARMINGTON, Mo. -- An autopsy showed no signs of foul play in the death of a Butler County Jail inmate who Sunday was found hanged.

Butler County Coroner Jim Akers said an autopsy completed Monday at Mineral Area Regional Medical Center by Dr. Russell Deidiker in Farmington, Mo., ruled out any signs of foul play in the death of Timothy Martin Lee, 48, of De Soto, Mo.

Lee was found hanging from an affixed shower curtain rod in an isolation area of the jail at about 10 p.m.

According to earlier reports, Lee was the only inmate being housed in the area for medical reasons making him ineligible to be in the jail's general population.

Correction officers found Lee -- who reportedly hanged himself with a T-shirt -- as they were making their checks before lock down.

Lee's cause of death was "asphyxiation due to hanging" and the manner of death was suicide, Akers said.

Samples were taken for toxicology analysis, he said, which could take up to six to eight weeks to be returned.

Unless "something unexpected" is found in the toxicology, Akers said, he doesn't expect Lee's cause of death to change.

At this point, Akers said, it appears "jail personnel did everything by the book. ... There were no signs he was going to do anything like this."

The jail has policies in place to try to "detect this; those policies were followed," he said.

A joint investigation is being conducted by the Missouri State Highway Patrol Troop E's Division of Drug and Crime Control, the Butler County Sheriff's Department and Butler County Coroner's office.

At the time of his death, Lee had been incarcerated in the Butler County Jail since Feb. 3 when his bond was revoked on a Butler County warrant for driving while intoxicated. His bond was set at $25,000.

Lee also was being held on a bench warrant out of Ballard County, Ky. That warrant's bond was set at $25,000 cash.

Pertinent address:

Poplar Bluff, Mo.

Farmington, Mo.


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