Jail suicide leads to investigation on protocol

Posted: December 10, 2010 in Uncategorized
Tags: , , ,

Robert Montoya (Santa Fe County jail)

Robert Montoya was found unconscious, hanging from a laundry-bag draw string in cell A-306 of the Santa Fe County Jail on Tuesday.

By Thursday morning, efforts to save him had failed and the 33-year-old man from Santa Cruz had died.

Romero was arrested by Santa Fe Police on Saturday and charged with purse snatching from an 80-year-old woman outside of Smith’s. He later fled from police and once caught, escaped custody and was caught again.

Montoya obviously did not want to go to jail (who does?), but two attempts to run from cops after a purse snatching for a man without a lengthy (although there is some) criminal record is head scratching.

Santa Fe Police Chief Aric Wheeler said Montoya informed officers he was a drug addict, prompting a standard wellness check at Christus St. Vincent Regional Medical Center.

The questions now for a jail with an unfortunate history over the past decade of tragedies like this is whether everything was done to protect Montoya from himself. Were there warning signs that should have led to a suicide watch? Were all the measures in place to prevent such a death? Those are all questions the county has not yet answered, but will have to eventually.

The New Mexican was able to obtain a copy of the initial incident report (and later asked by county officials how we did when they refused to comment on the case) and it appears from the time Montoya was discovered hanging in his cell on, everything was handled properly. The questions will come prior to that discovery, which came at about 4:40 p.m. Tuesday. He was last seen in his cell and “seemed OK at the time” at 4:15 p.m., according to the report.

Here is a link to the article published in Friday’s New Mexican:

  1. Henretta Salazar says:

    I have heard the jail people from Santa Fe County did everything positive in an attempt to save this inmate after they found him hanging. Certainly, it the past, the private corporation that was running the jail before the county took it over did have serious flaws in dealing with inmates killing themselves. But since the county took it over, the new jail administrators and his staff have really upgraded the entire jail operations according to a new Department of Justice reports. I don’t have any relatives that work for the jail but I do have alot of family members that go in and out of this particular jail. I live up here in the Espanola Valley and I can tell you one thing – I rather have my family members up there at the Santa Fe County Jail anytime because I know they will not violate thier rights like the ones at the Tierra Amarilla Jail up north. And of course, the media will always try to make the Santa Fe County Jail look like morans anyways. Yet, I know these jail people are doing thier jobs correctly and humanely too!

  2. geoffgrammer says:

    “And of course, the media will always try to make the Santa Fe County Jail look like morans anyways.”

    I don’t know that this post or the article that published last week in The New Mexican in any was trying to make the jail look like morons. There is nothing wrong with asking questions to make sure protocol was followed. The people at the jail know this and stand by their actions. That is good, but it doesn’t mean when someone dis you don’t at least ask all the proper questions to make sure this couldn’t have been prevented.

    Geoff Grammer

  3. Em says:

    No they did not do anything to save him a matter the warden took horrible pictures making fun the situation and laughing about it amoungest his collegues. I think they are at fault and maybe had something to do with his death. I have heard many horrible stories on how they treat the people in that jail and how horrible it is. The state and the family need to look further into this. This could have been prevented and the jail is at fault!!!! Henretta Salazar needs to get her story staight, this is all the jails fault. They just want you to believe them because he did something wrong, he was still a person and after seeing in the news ( http://www.koat.com/news/26171191/detail.html)
    what the warden did he should be fired!!!!

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