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Family of man who was 'eaten alive' by bed bugs in jail agrees to $4 million settlement

Family of man who was 'eaten alive' by bed bugs in jail agrees to $4 million settlement

LaShawn Thompson was 35 years old when he was found dead in his jail cell

The family of a 35-year-old man who died after being 'eaten alive' by bed bugs in his prison cell have agreed to a $4 million settlement with officials in the county.

LaShawn Thompson was found dead in Fulton County Jail in September 2022, after he was arrested the previous June for simple battery against police officials.

In January, an autopsy released by the Fulton County Medical Examiner's Office listed Thompson's cause of death as 'undetermined', but his family sought further explanation by ordering their own independent autopsy in May.

LaShawn Thompson's death was initially listed as 'undetermined'.
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The result of that autopsy, obtained by ABC News, listed 'dehydration, malnutrition, severe body insect infestation' among the conditions that led to Thompson's death, as well as 'untreated decompensated schizophrenia'.

Michael Harper, an attorney for the Thompson's family, told Insider officials at the jail 'literally watched his health decline until he died', adding that the cell was 'was not fit for a diseased animal'.

"They left him there essentially," Harper said. "And they had a plan to take him to the medical observation unit, but their plan never happened, and they found him dead, eaten by these bed bugs."

Attorneys also claimed previously that Thompson's mental illness meant he was incapable of caring for himself in the cell.

Photos of Thompson covered with bed bugs, along with photos of his dirty cell, went viral after he passed away, and as a result of his treatment Thompson's family took legal action against Fulton County.

LaShawn Thompson was found dead in his cell.
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On Wednesday (2 August), the Fulton County Board of Commissioners voted 6-0 to approve the $4 million (£3.14m) settlement for the family.

The agreement comes after Fulton County Sheriff Patrick 'Pat' Labat told ABC News in May that it was 'painfully clear there were a number of failures that led to Mr. Thompson's tragic death'.

Labat assured there have been 'sweeping changes' at the jail since Thompson's death.

Michael Potter, an entomologist at the University of Kentucky specializing in bed bugs, told BBC News in April that bed bugs are rarely deadly, but noted: "Bed bugs feed on blood and very large numbers of bed bugs feed on very large amounts of blood."

Potter added that he'd 'never seen anything quite to this level' of bugs as evident in the photos from Thompson's cell, and noted this amount of infestation could cause a dangerous allergic reaction.

Harper has said Thompson's family will not be commenting on the settlement, adding: "The Fulton County Commissioners’ vote speaks for itself."

Featured Image Credit: Fox 5

Topics: US News, Health, Crime