The Deschutes County District Attorney on Thursday officially declared the death of a jail inmate last month as a suicide.
Scott Douglas Baksis hung himself in his jail cell with a towel tied to his bunk bed on Dec. 3, according to a statement from DA John Hummel.
“The cause of death is still to be determined, as we are awaiting the final autopsy report from the medical examiner,” Hummel said. “Regardless of the cause of death, this was a non-criminal incident.”
Corrections Deputy Chad Bach discovered Baksis while making his hourly rounds, Hummel said.
Bach called for help and other staff arrived to help cut down Baksis and remove the towel from his neck.
“Deputy Bach’s quick decision to lift and hold Mr. Baksis while waiting for his colleagues to arrive with a cut down tool gave Mr. Baksis a fighting chance for survival,” Hummel said. “Deputy Bach’s actions were commendable.”
Jail and medical staff started life-saving measures before taking Baksis to St. Charles in Bend.
He died three days later.
“When Mr. Baksis was booked into the jail, he was asked if he had thoughts of harming himself; he indicated he did not,” Hummel said in his report. “Mr. Baksis was thus booked into the general population, as opposed to being referred to a mental health professional and placed on a suicide watch.”
COVID protocols at the jail require general population inmates to initially serve five days in isolation, with no interaction with other inmates.
If they remain symptom-free during the five-day observation period, they are then housed with other inmates.
Baksis was in day three of this five-day observation period when he ended his life by suicide.
“We don’t know why Mr. Baksis ended his life by suicide, but we know that he was detoxing from prescription pain medication for a back injury, and he was anxious about losing his liberty,” Hummel said.
The Tri-County Major Incident Team, with the Redmond Police Department as the lead agency on this case, conducted a thorough and professional investigation and provided all the evidence District Attorney Hummel required to conduct his legal analysis and reach his legal conclusion.
You can read Hummel’s full report below:DEATH IN JAIL DETERMINED TO BE BY SUICIDE 1.12.21