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State police seek warrant after investigating inmate's death

prison bars

State police are requesting a warrant as a result of their investigation into the death of Janika Edmond, a 25-year-old inmate who apparently hung herself last year at the Women’s Huron Valley Correctional Facility.

State police presented their findings to the Washtenaw County Prosecutor’s office Thursday, said MSP spokeswoman Shanon Banner.

“Our investigators did complete their investigation, and they forwarded their report just yesterday to the Washtenaw County prosecutor’s office for review,” Banner said, noting there were “some allegations at the correctional facility, and that’s what they were looking into.”

According to Edmond’s family’s lawyer, David Steingold, the state police are seeking a manslaughter warrant for one of the former corrections officers involved.

Steingold says he’s learned from other inmates and the state police, that Janika Edmond told a corrections officer she was suicidal and asked to be placed in a “suicide vest” – a type of restraint used to protect inmates from hurting themselves.

But instead, Steingold says, the corrections officer allegedly made a joke about having a bet on Edmond’s suicide threat. “She just said, ‘Somebody owes me lunch,’ and turned and walked away” Steingold says.

Edmond apparently hung herself soon after. She was hospitalized and pronounced brain dead before her death, Steingold says.

Washtenaw County Deputy Chief Assistant Prosecutor Steven Hiller says “there’s been some consultation” between his office and the state police during this investigation, but wouldn’t comment on how long the review process may take.

Michigan Department of Corrections spokesperson Chris Gautz says he’s aware the state police have submitted a report for the prosecutor to review, but did not know of any warrant request. “We don’t know what’s in the report, so we can’t speak to it,” he says.  

Kate Wells is a Peabody Award-winning journalist currently covering public health. She was a 2023 Pulitzer Prize finalist for her abortion coverage.
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