CATEGORY: Crime

AUTHOR: GIBSON

ABERDEEN - Autopsy results have confirmed the Monday night hanging death of a Monroe County inmate as a suicide.

The cause of Wardell Bailey's death was determined to be self-inflicted hanging, said Monroe County Coroner Alan Gurley. Gurley declined to say what Bailey used to hang himself.

Bailey was found unresponsive in a jail cell about 9:15 p.m. Monday as the jailer was making his hourly rounds, said Monroe Sheriff Ruble Maxey. The jailer noted no problems with Bailey, who was alone in his cell, when he made his 8 p.m. cell check.

Bailey was booked into the Monroe County Jail on a charge of driving under the influence-third offense by Aberdeen police about 7 p.m. Monday.

Mississippi Highway Patrol investigators are conducting an inquiry into the death. Maxey said he prefers that an outside agency investigate to avoid the appearance of conflicting interests.

Maxey said there have been no suicides in the jail during his tenure. A Laotian immigrant charged in the fatal shooting of Verona Police Chief Bill Yant hanged himself in the Monroe County Jail in May 1989.

Gurley attended the autopsy in Jackson, but plans to ask Lowndes County Coroner David Harris to sign the death certificate, also to avoid any appearance of a conflict of interest, because Gurley is also employed by the Monroe County Sheriff's Department.

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