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Deputies Investigate Jail Death

A Pulaski County inmate dies in jail and now the sheriff's office is investigating.
LITTLE ROCK, AR - A Pulaski County inmate dies in jail and now the sheriff's office is investigating.

34-year-old Erik Canada was found unresponsive in the infirmary while on suicide watch, but investigators and the family do not suspect foul play. According to Canada's mother, her son was arrested for DWI and in violation of his probation. Jackie Winn says her son was an alcoholic, and she believes he died from withdrawal. The Pulaski County Sheriff's Office is still investigating the death and waiting for the state medical examiner to determine the exact cause of death.

Winn says she talked to her son on the phone in jail and says he sounded distressed and confused. Deputies say they don't believe his death is suspicious. Lt. Carl Minden says deaths happen behind bars no different from the outside world. "The higher the population, the more likely some body could die of natural causes or anything."

Two other families are also grieving the loss of loved ones behind bars. Debra Porschia's 24-year-old son Kendrick collapsed on the basketball court while incarcerated at the Arkansas Department of Correction Ouachita River Unit in Malvern. Nellie Rufus says her nephew, 31-year-old Roy Parham also died playing basketball at the Tucker Unit. All three families are waiting for answers.

Lt. Minden says it's standard protocol to look into inmate deaths. "We call in our investigation team any time there is a death in the jail."

Until the medical examiner determines cause of death, Jackie Winn, Debra Porschia, and Nellie Rufus are left wondering why. It could take days, weeks, or even months for the medical examiner's report to determine an official cause of death.
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