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DeKalb County Jail reports first inmate death for 2023

Crime and public safety DeKalb County Dunwoody Trending

DeKalb County Jail reports first inmate death for 2023

DeKalb County Jail. Photo by Dean Hesse.

Editor’s note: The subject of suicide is discussed in this story. If you or someone you know is feeling suicidal, please contact the Suicide and Crisis Lifeline. For more information, visit https://988lifeline.org/

DeKalb County, GA — An inmate has died at the DeKalb County Jail, the first death recorded in 2023.

The inmate appears to have taken his own life, the Sheriff’s Office said.

“Doraville, Georgia resident Enil Guillen, 20, was found hanging in his jail cell and unresponsive on Monday, May 29, 2023. He was pronounced deceased following unsuccessful emergency medical treatment by on-site inmate health services and DeKalb EMS. Preliminary reports indicate suicide as the possible cause of death,” the Sheriff’s Office announced in a press release. “Mr. Guillen had been in custody of the DeKalb County Jail since his arrest on May 11, 2023, by Dunwoody Police Department on warrants for Felony Theft by Taking and Driving Without a License. The incident remains under investigation by the sheriff’s Office of Professional Standards.”

Decaturish recently published a lengthy investigative story about deaths at the jail in 2022, the deadliest year in a decade. That story noted that the Office of Professional Standards is part of the Sheriff’s Office, which runs the jail, meaning the Sheriff’s Office investigates itself when it examines the causes of inmate deaths.

Several of the inmates who died in 2022 had a history of mental illness, records show.

Sheriff Melody Maddox has repeatedly refused Decaturish.com’s requests for an interview about inmate deaths in 2022.

The Sheriff’s Office uses contractors to provide health services, and its contract with health services provider Wellpath expired, a spokesperson for the Sheriff’s Office said. It’s unclear who the new health services provider is or if the jail still has a contract with Centurion, the contractor responsible for providing mental health services.

Another notable change recently occurred in the Sheriff’s Office. Chief Deputy Randy Akies retired in February and has been replaced by Chief Deputy Temetris Atkins.

Sheriff Maddox had appointed Akies as Chief Deputy when she took office in 2019. The chief deputy is the highest non-elected official within the Sheriff’s Office and is responsible for the jail, field, and court operations.

“Prior to his appointment, Chief Akies had been Major and Jail Services Commander, where he was responsible for DeKalb County Jail Operations administrations and inmate services,” the Sheriff’s Office said when announcing Akies retirement.

In the press release about Akies’ retirement, Maddox praised Akies’ work at the Sheriff’s Office.

“It has been my great pleasure to have Chief Akies alongside me since becoming sheriff,” Sheriff Maddox said in the press release. “Not only has his experience and knowledge been of great value to me personally and professionally, but his dedication to excellence has been paramount in the fulfillment of our mandate for the safety of our community and the care of those in our custody.”

The fallout from the jail deaths in 2022 continues.

The family of a DeKalb County Jail inmate who died of hypothermia on Dec. 26, 2022, is suing DeKalb County and Sheriff Melody Maddox for $15 million, according to records obtained by Decaturish.

Anthony Walker, 34, was one of nine inmates who died in 2022. A DeKalb County Medical Examiner report concluded that Walker’s death was caused by hypothermia and was accidental. Another inmate who died a day after Walker, Jackson Orukpete, 57, was also found in a cold cell. The Medical Examiner said cold temperatures may have contributed to Orukpete’s death, but it couldn’t be proven.

To read more about the lawsuit filed by Walker’s family, click here.

Based on interviews, Decaturish has learned that other families of inmates who died in 2022 have also retained attorneys.

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