Army vet hangs himself in jail cell after being denied mental health treatment

A Georgia veteran died begging for help as he rotted away in a jail cell- and authorities are trying to figure out how it could have happened.

34-year-old US Army veteran Ricky Figueroa was found hanging from a bedsheet in his cell, a few days later, he died in the hospital.

Described by his family as a man who was almost “too smart,” for his own good, Figueroa had served in the Army as a Military Policeman and was diagnosed with bipolar disorder after he was discharged.

Working at a local pharmacy until 2009, Figueroa was arrested for stealing from the store, pleading guilty and receiving probation.

Figueroa stayed out of trouble until 2015, when he provided false information to a police officer. Rockdale County Jail provided Figueroa a mental health evaluation and prescribed Zyprexa and Effexor to treat his mental illness.

However, when Figueroa was transferred to DeKalb County Jail, his medication reportedly did not follow him. Despite lodging multiple complaints, Figueroa claimed DeKalb never provided medication or an evaluation.

“I not only have been denied access to a doctor, but I have been denied my medication,” the late Figueroa wrote in one of the reports.

Many of the inmates knew of Figueroa’s condition and told investigators about his issues.

“Ricky has been asking for a mental health doctor…and for his meds and has been refused,” wrote Cody Pope, a former fellow inmate.

According to WLTX19 , Palm Beach Behavioral Health Director Dr. David Husted reviewed the case and found gaping holes in Figueroa’s treatment.

“This was not an inmate who was silently stewing in their depression and silently harboring suicidal thoughts and just shocked every by killing himself. He made it very clear he was sick and very clear he wanted help,” said Husted. “The lack of treatment for Ricky is indefensible.”

DeKalb County Jail commander Sheriff Major LoRandy Akies declined interview requests on the matter, as did the companies contracted to provide health care in the jail.

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