A Joplin man is dead after apparently taking his own life while in custody over the weekend at the Carthage City Jail.
Carthage Police Chief Greg Dagnan said Charles L. Roderique, 26, was pronounced dead at 2:40 p.m. Monday by the Jasper County Coroner's Office. He was taken to Mercy McCune-Brooks Hospital in Carthage after he was discovered at around 3 p.m. on Saturday.
It's the second serious incident at the Carthage City Jail in less than a month, coming on the heels of a man who had been arrested for suspicion of burglary escaping from the city jail on July 12.
“Obviously it's very upsetting when something like this happens in our jail,” Dagnan said on Monday. “In each incident, we fully investigated the causes, reasons and if anything can be done differently, and in both these cases we had to chalk it up to sometimes these things happen. After each incident we've modified and changed our procedures a little bit to take every possible precaution.”
Dagnan said in this most recent case, Roderique had been stopped and arrested on Thursday, Aug. 1, on charges of driving under the influence, careless and imprudent driving, driving while suspended and a Joplin city warrant for failure to appear.
Dagnan said Roderique was held in a cell by himself. City officers were making a routine check of the cell when they saw he was in distress.
“He was in a cell with no cell mates and he used the bedding he had been issued to attempt to commit suicide,” Dagnan said. “He hadn't been there unchecked for very long. When he was booked in, there wasn't any indication that he was going to try to take his own life.”
Dagnan said officers could not recall the last time a prisoner in the Carthage City Jail took his own life or even attempted suicide.
On July 12, Nathaniel Norris, 20, rural Carthage, escaped from the jail at about 5 p.m. while he was being booked on suspicion of stealing a motorcycle from a home in the west side of Carthage.
He was on the loose for about four hours before officers tracked him to a home at 1105 Baker Blvd. and convinced him to surrender.
Norris was charged with tampering with a motor vehicle and attempted escape from custody, both felonies. He was also wanted in Newton County for failure to appear in court on two counts of first degree statutory sodomy.