Evan Lyndell Parker was found hanging in his Texas jail cell January 25 and died two days later at a nearby hospital. KHOU reports Texas Rangers are now investigating his death as a suicide, one that took place in the same jail where Sandra Bland was found hanging nearly four years earlier.
Parker, 34, was booked into Waller County Jail for murder and aggravated assault charges January 10. The Waller County District Attorney’s Office issued the following statement on Friday:
“There was an apparent suicide attempt at the Waller County Jail in the early morning hours of January 25, 2019. Upon discovery of the male inmate he was rushed to the hospital in Houston where he is alive and being treated for his injuries. At the request of the Waller County Sheriff, the F.B.I. and the Texas Rangers have been asked to take the lead in the investigation surrounding the suicide attempt. At this time there is no information to show that any procedures or guidelines were not followed by the jail staff.”
In July 2015, Bland was found hanging in her cell three days after being arrested during a traffic stop. Her death, like Parker’s, was ruled a suicide.
Another key similarity between the two cases is the absence of guards who could have intervened. The Houston Chronicle reports a December 2018 inspection by regulators revealed that Waller County Jail didn’t meet certain standards for frequency of observing prisoners. Similar findings were made after the death of Bland in the same jail.
Bland’s family settled a wrongful death lawsuit for $1.9 million with Waller County officials and the state trooper who arrested her in 2015.
Speaking about Parker’s death, Waller County Judge Trey Duhon told the Chronicle, “All I can say is, it’s extremely unfortunate when it happens. Even with the best of precautions, it is always possible that somebody intent on taking their life could be successful. All we can do is make sure we meet guidelines and do the routine checks. At this point, it looks like that was done.”