Family says Allegheny County jail death was suicide

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A 38-year-old Sheraden man died in the Allegheny County Jail on Sunday. His family said today that they were told that he hung himself.

Robert C. Urbatis, a roofer, was jailed on Thursday on charges of receiving stolen property, burglary and theft by deception. He has been jailed before for threats and drug possession.

The jail's acting warden deferred comment to a county spokeswoman, who said the death is under investigation. The county police had no immediate comment.

Robert A. Urbatis, the roofer's father, said the family had no contact with his son after his incarceration. He added that the jail was aware from a previous incarceration that his son "was an addict and that and he was suicidal."

The elder Urbatis said he called the jail infirmary around 5:30 p.m. on Saturday.

"I told them he was an addict and I figured he needed some medications," he said. "The guard told me, oh, if he's an addict they'll detox him over on the pod. I just though they would keep an eye on him."

He said that the Allegheny County Medical Examiner's office told him that his son died about 6:20 a.m. Sunday.

He said his son has "a beautiful 5-year-old daughter. He was really a kind-hearted guy."

Last year Allegheny County Health Director Bruce Dixon proposed a five-point plan to watch inmates more carefully when they are deemed to be at higher-than-normal risk for suicide.

Among other things, Dr. Dixon wrote that reviews of incoming inmates should focus more on mental health and drug issues and that the jail should continue to closely monitor inmates who have previously tried to kill themselves or been placed on suicide watch.

breaking - region - neigh_west

Rich Lord: rlord@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1542. First Published April 16, 2012 5:30 PM


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