LOCKPORT – Authorities are trying to determine what caused the death of a Niagara County Jail inmate whose body was discovered early Monday morning.
Dejuan L. Hunt II, 25, of Niagara Falls, was in jail on charges related to a pair of sexual assaults at Niagara County Community College. Hunt was not a student at the college.
Sheriff James R. Voutour confirmed Hunt’s death on Tuesday. An autopsy done Tuesday morning by the Erie County Medical Examiner did not determine a cause of death. Officials are awaiting pathology toxicology results, Voutour added.
Voutour said Hunt was found dead in his bed at 6 a.m. Monday.
“He was sleeping. We went to check on him and he wasn’t breathing,” said Voutour. “He was watched all night.”
Voutour noted that jail officials had no cause to suspect Hunt had a prior medical condition.
“We certainly didn’t suspect anything or he would have been in the hospital. He was fine when he went to bed,” said the sheriff.
Hunt was charged with first-degree sexual abuse and forcible touching, coming to the school in broad daylight on Aug. 3, grabbing a female student as she walked down a hallway and forcing her into a stairwell. The victim alerted staff members at the college and he was apprehended on an NFTA bus in the City of Niagara Falls.
While he was being held on bail, he was charged a few days later with third-degree sexual abuse in connection to a July 19 attack at the college. Hunt’s bail was doubled to $20,000 cash and $40,000 bond.
Hunt’s death will likely increase the scrutiny on the Niagara County Jail where three inmates have died since medical care was privatized. The Niagara County Legislature recently hired its third provider of inmate care in less than a year.
The Legislature voted on July 24 to hire PrimeCare Medical of Harrisburg, Pa., to start on Aug. 1 after Correctional Medical Care of Blue Bell, Pa., presented a price increase and gave notice that it was pulling out of its contract.
Correctional Medical started at the jail on Oct. 31, after the three inmate deaths. The company started at a first-year price of $2.18 million, but asked for a boost to $2.55 million, which Correctional Medical said was necessary because it brought more staff to the jail.
Voutour said in July that Correctional Medical had performed well.
Correctional Medical had replaced Armor Correctional Health Services of Miami. Three inmates had died on Armor’s watch, two in December 2012 and one in October 2014, leading to survivors’ lawsuits over alleged inadequate care. Armor settled one suit for $100,000, and the other two cases are still open.