Medical examiner rules jail death a suicide

Bob Morehead

Herald Staff Writer

The Summit County Medical Examiner’s Office has officially ruled the June 10 death of an inmate of the Barberton City Jail a suicide.

The results of its investigation were released July 30.

Timothy Wayne Strausser Jr. was arrested June 9 on drug charges. According to the ME’s investigation, this was not unusual. Strausser, the investigator reported, had a history of drug abuse and a mood disorder.

Booked in a little before 4 p.m., Strausser became agitated and hostile, prompting a neighboring inmate to be moved. When officers returned to his cell the next day to get him for his court hearing, he was in the same state.

“So the judge came to him for his arraignment,” investigator Kelsie Stopak wrote in the report.

Paramedics went to check him over later in the morning due to complaints of shoulder pain and reported he was combative. He was evaluated, but remained in the jail. This meant Strausser was know to be alive between 4:05 and 4:10 p.m. Due to Strausser’s persistent state, the cleaning crew that would normally service the jail was kept away that afternoon.

Shortly before 5, an officer went to the jail and found Strausser hanging from his jail cell door by a bedsheet, his knees almost hitting the floor. The officer immediately cut him down and began CPR. Paramedics arrived at 5 p.m. and took over but could not revive him; he was pronounced dead.

The autopsy, conducted the next day, determined the hanging was the cause of death and found no other injuries, other than some older bruises and abrasions on his face, hands, arms, hips, legs and feet that had partially healed. A newer bruise was under his right eyebrow. Significantly, there were no internal neck injuries, meaning he hadn’t been strangled by another person.

The toxicology report revealed low levels of methamphetamine in his blood and THC in his urine.

The Herald reached out to the Barberton Police Department multiple times between July 31 and Aug. 7 for an official statement on the ME’s findings but never got a response.

For news exclusively from Norton and Barberton, pick up the Herald on newsstands today.

1 Comment

  1. js on August 17, 2020 at 1:54 pm

    His knees ‘almost’ touching the floor??? Once you die you’d go limp and his legs…etc. ‘would’ be touching the floor…Something doesn’t ADD up….

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