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Mystery: Ailing Pennsylvania Man Dies on the Coldest Night of the Year on Cellblock Where Someone Died from Hypothermia Months Before

A Pennsylvania man’s death on the medical block of a detention center has raised the record number of fatalities in the facility and brought on questions about the treatment of people being detained there.

Richard Carter, 63, died in the Dauphin County Prison after a “medical emergency” on Christmas Eve. It was the coldest day of the year, Penn Live reports. Another man died from hypothermia on the same row of the detention center months before Carter.

Richard Carter Dauphin County Prison
Richard Carter died Dec. 24, 2022, in the Dauphin County Prison. (Photo: Facebook/Jolynn Durden)

Hypothermia occurs when a person’s body loses heat faster than it can produce it. It usually occurs when a person’s body temperature drops below 95 degrees Fahrenheit.

The district attorney and county coroner have launched an investigation into Carter’s death, according to FOX 43.

The man’s family and friends told Penn Live that he had several medical issues, including using an oxygen tank for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, a condition that obstructs airflow from the lungs.

However, Carter’s family and friends said he had maintained control of his health issues for decades. But on Dec. 24, while it was six degrees Fahrenheit outside, the man was pronounced dead after succumbing to the medical emergency. Investigators must determine how cold Carter’s cell was before medical staff attended to his crisis. Reports show it was 73.5 degrees Fahrenheit in his cell immediately after the crisis was noticed shortly after midnight.

More than 1,000 people were housed in the Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, facility as of Nov. 16, according to the warden’s most recent report. The number has stayed in the same range for the previous four months with about 30 percent to 40 percent of the population requiring medications for medical conditions.

Protesters gather at the Dauphin County Prison
Community activists organized a protest to call attention to problems at Dauphin County prison on June 13, 2022. (Photo: YouTube/Penn Live)

Carter had been in the facility for three days before his death. He entered the facility on Dec. 20 after refusing to leave his ex-girlfriend’s home. His death was the 17th one at the Dauphin County Prison, reportedly making it one of the deadliest in the state.

Reports show that a nurse gave Carter medicine for his preexisting issues two-and-a-half hours before the emergency, around 9:30 p.m. The county has not released Carter’s cause of death.

Sadie Hostley said she and Carter had been broken up for some time before he asked an ambulance to drop him to her home last October after a stint in the hospital. She told Penn Live that he became temperamental.

Carter got into an altercation with her son and pulled a knife on the man. Police instructed Hostley to request a protective order against Carter, which they served him on Dec. 20, but he refused to leave and was arrested.

Police reportedly had to switch Carter’s regular oxygen tank for a travel version, and he had complications breathing during the transfer. County officials said he was placed in a solo cell with an electrical outlet, where he was checked on every 15 minutes.

Officials said that more information regarding Carter’s death will be released at a later time, “considering the investigation and the decedent’s HIPAA rights.”

Jamal Crummel Dauphin County Prison
Jamal Crummel died Jan. 31, 2022, in the Dauphin County Prison. (Photo: YouTube/ABC 27)

It took several months for county officials to release the cause of death for Jamal Crummel, who was on the same cell block on Jan. 31.

Corrections staff found Crummel, 45, unresponsive in his cell, according to CBS 21. The man had been booked in the facility on Sept. 15, 2021, for assault charges, after allegedly attempting to hit six state troopers with his vehicle.

Crummel was also on medication, which corrections officials said he refused to take before he died. He spent a month in the hospital after being diagnosed with hypothermia up until a week before his death. In February, Dauphin County district attorney Fran Chardo said Crummel had hypothermia but ruled it out as his cause of death. He said the temperature in the man’s cell had been 62 degrees Fahrenheit when he died.

Crummel was wearing a short-sleeved shirt and was surrounded by several uneaten meals when he was discovered, Penn Live reports. Six months later, county officials announced that he died from scarring of the heart and hypothermia.

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