Traverse City Record-Eagle

July 9, 2013

Teen commits suicide in jail

BY MATT TROUTMAN mtroutman@record-eagle.com
Traverse City Record-Eagle

---- — BELLAIRE — An East Jordan teen who committed suicide in Antrim County’s jail was lodged there for about a month while awaiting trial on a felony resisting arrest charge.

Darren Bradley McWatters, 17, was found hanging by a sheet from his jail cell bars July 6 at about 11 p.m. by corrections officers as they conducted a cell check. He was pronounced dead at the jail by an Antrim County medical examiner.

“He was (last) checked at 10:17 p.m.,” said Antrim County Sheriff Dan Bean.

McWatters was arrested June 10 by Antrim County sheriff’s deputies on a failure to appear warrant. Deputies reported he became aggressive, yelled and tried to pull away while being escorted to a patrol car. A probable cause document stated “(he) then kicked (the deputy) in the leg and became uncontrollable at which time he was dynamically escorted to the ground.”

McWatters was scheduled for a Monday preliminary examination in 13th Circuit Court on a felony charge of assaulting, resisting or obstructing a police officer causing injury. Bean said McWatters was being held on a 10 percent $10,000 bond. He asked Michigan State Police to conduct the death investigation.

“I sure don’t want to investigate my own thing and have somebody say there’s some impropriety,” Bean said.

State police Det. 1st Lt. Richard Simpson said his investigators found McWatters’ death completely “unexpected.”

“He was not under suicide watch,” he said.

Bean said McWatters was in a single cell and a nearby inmate heard nothing. He said the incident will prompt an internal review of the jail operations.

“We’re still looking into what can or cannot change,” he said. “It may be nothing.”