Wed, Feb 23, 2011 - Page 2 News List

Prosecutors start probe of inmate’s alleged suicide

By Rich Chang  /  Staff Reporter

Prosecutors have launched an investigation into the apparent suicide of a suspect at the Taipei Detention Center after ruling that it would have been nearly impossible for the man to use the plastic water barrel in his cell to end his life.

The detention center said on Monday that Lin Yu-chiung (林煜荃), 38, had been found dead next to the water barrel in his cell in the morning, bleeding from the nose.

A note reading “children want to see me, but they could not,” was found in his cell.

The center said surveillance cameras in the cell showed Lin kneeling down and holding his head in the barrel for about 70 minutes, before collapsing by the sink, hitting his face in the process.

Lin’s cellmate called security after hearing Lin hit the floor, but the footage showed he had not gone near Lin, the center said, adding that this showed Lin acted on his own.

If foul play is ruled out, Lin’s death would be the nation’s first jail suicide by drowning.

However, prosecutors said they doubted someone could kill themselves in such a way, given that instinctually people would try to remove their head from water if they could not breathe. They said an autopsy would be conducted soon.

Lin’s family have asked officials to determine the cause of death.

Lin was arrested on Jan. 6 for alleged involvement in a double murder during the robbery of a Taipei jewelry store on Dec. 31.

He is suspected of killing the store’s owners — a woman and her son — with a hammer before setting the store on fire and fleeing with millions of dollars in jewelry.

Earlier this month, investigators took Lin to a location where he was alleged to have hid the stolen jewelry, but found nothing.

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