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Erie County Correctional Facility inmate hangs himself

An inmate hanged himself in the Erie County Correctional Facility on Friday.

While few details are known, the inmate hanged himself in his room during a routine lockdown period, a source familiar with the matter told The Buffalo News. The death was confirmed by Sheriff's Office spokesman Scott Zylka, who later sent an email saying the inmate, who died by apparent suicide early Friday afternoon, was discovered unresponsive in his cell shortly after a lunchtime lockdown at the jail.

Zylka said Jail Management and Correctional Health personnel immediately responded after the inmate was discovered and lifesaving measures were initiated.

The Sheriff's Office did not identify the inmate, but said he had been admitted to the correctional facility on Aug. 1 on a parole violation and was being actively followed by the Sheriff's Office's Division of Forensic Mental Health Service.

Zylka said Sheriff Timothy B. Howard ordered an internal investigation, and the county's Jail Management Division is generating required notifications to the state Commission of Correction and the U.S. Department of Justice.

It's the third death of an Erie County inmate this year. Holding Center inmate Joseph Bialaszewski died July 26 in Buffalo General Medical Center. He was bleeding internally but had been placed in a remote detox cell, where he fell to the floor unconscious.

Holding Center inmate Connell Burrell died Aug. 2 in Buffalo General after complications from a diabetic episode.

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