Family says jail inmate hanged himself
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A 38-year-old Sheraden man died Sunday in the Allegheny County Jail, and his family said Monday that they were told that he hanged himself.
"It appears at this time that everybody followed the proper protocol that they have down at the jail," said county police Superintendent Charles Moffatt. "There's no indication at this time that there's any foul play. However, we're waiting for word from the medical examiner."
County police are investigating.
Robert C. Urbatis, a roofer, was jailed Thursday on charges of receiving stolen property, burglary and theft by deception. He has been jailed before on charges of threats and drug possession.
Robert A. Urbatis, the father of the deceased, 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 ... he was suicidal."
The father said he called the jail infirmary around 5:30 p.m. Saturday. "I told them he was an addict and I figured he needed some medications." He said he did not believe that his son was put on anti-withdrawal drugs.
The elder Mr. Urbatis said the Allegheny County medical examiner's office told him that his son died around 6:20 a.m. Sunday. He said his son has "a beautiful 5-year-old daughter. He was really a kind-hearted guy."
Tammy Meyers, the deceased's sister, said the family didn't get word that her brother failed to post bail. "My dad would've posted bail in a heartbeat," she said.
She said the medical examiner's office told the family that her brother hanged himself with a flannel shirt while his cellmate slept.
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.
Mr. Urbatis was housed in a pod for new inmates, where corrections officers do frequent rounds because of the higher risk of suicide in that population.
First Published April 17, 2012 12:00 am