Man 'Eaten Alive by Bed Bugs' in Jail Cell After He Could Not Post Bail Died of 'Severe Neglect': Autopsy

Lashawn Thompson

According to an independent autopsy, the cause of death for Lashawn Thompson, 35, is listed as "complications due to severe neglect" with "untreated decompensated schizophrenia" listed as a contributing cause.

An independent autopsy determined that a Georgia man who died after being "eaten alive by insects and bed bugs" according to his family, passed away due to "severe neglect."

The cause of death for Lashawn Thompson, 35, is listed as "complications due to severe neglect" with "untreated decompensated schizophrenia" listed as a contributing cause.

Thompson lost 32 lbs during his three months in the Fulton County Jail, had severe dehydration and malnutrition at the time of his death according to the report, and there is not record that he received any of the medication necessary to treat his schizophrenia in the month prior to his death — or any care at all, the report says.


For "43 days there was minimal documentation found within the records that show care being delivered," the report says. "The medication administration log showed that no medication was administered from Aug. 11, 2022 – Sept. 13, 2022."

And, as noted by his family, Thompson's body was infested with bugs.

"Based upon the timeline provided, Lashawn Thompson suffered from severe body insect infestation that clearly spanned greater 28 days," writes Roger A. Mitchell, Jr. MD. "During the time it took to accumulate the severe and substantial infestation, Mr. Thompson would not have received a bath from his caregivers."

Mitchell, who is also a professor at Howard University, was hired by former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick's non-profit organization to conduct the autopsy after the autopsy by the Fulton County Medical Examiner's Office found Thompson's cause of death to be "undetermined."

The independent autopsy report determined the manner of death to be homicide. “Mr. Thompson was neglected to death," writes Mitchell.

Thompson was booked into Fulton County Jail on June 12 of last year on a misdemeanor charge.

He did not have the funds to post bail, and on Sept. 13, three months after his arrest, he was found unresponsive and slumped over a toilet in his cell, covered in bugs, according to the incident report filed by Fulton County Jail staffers.

"I want to go on record: This is the most deplorable death and custody case in history," prominent civil rights attorney Ben Crump said at a news conference on Monday.

Fulton County Sheriff Pat Labat issued a statement following the release of the independent autopsy report.

"I have not had a chance to fully review the independent autopsy report. However, even before this report was issued it was painfully clear there were a number of failures that led to Mr. Thompson’s tragic death," read her statement. "I have already held the executive staff responsible for jail operations accountable by asking for and receiving the resignations of the Chief Jailer, Assistant Chief Jailer of Housing and Assistant Chief Jailer, Criminal Investigative Division."

She added: "Repercussions for anyone found to be negligent in Mr. Thompson’s care could come once the full investigation is turned over to the GBI for review."


Related Stories