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Kings County Jail

HANFORD — A Hanford man sentenced for extortion committed suicide in the Kings County Jail in December, according to jail officials.

Sheriff’s Office officials said deputies and ambulances were dispatched to the jail at around 4:20 p.m. on Dec. 20 for a report of a non-responsive inmate.

When first responders arrived, officials said they began administering first aid to 26-year-old Ethen Carrell of Hanford. Carrell was then transported to a local hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

Sheriff’s officials said Carrell, who was convicted of extortion on the same day he committed suicide, used bedsheets to hang himself from the top bunk in his cell.

“I don’t think any mother should ever have to bury their child,” said Venus Donahue, Carrell's mother. “Especially from something that was 100 percent preventable.”

Donahue said although her son made some mistakes, he was a good man who was smart and always willing to give his time and help others. She said he tutored classmates in high school, helped coach kids in basketball and volunteered.

Assistant Sheriff Robert Thayer said Carrell was booked into the jail on Aug. 16, 2017, on suspicion of extortion, making terrorist threats and several other charges.

Thayer said when Carrell was found guilty, he had an outburst inside the court and staff had to restrain him.

Thayer said it’s not uncommon for people to be emotional when they are convicted in court, so prior to going back to his cell when he was taken back to the jail from the courthouse, Carrell was taken to the jail’s behavior health specialist to talk.

Thayer said during Carrell's talk with the specialist, he gave no hint he was thinking about suicide and was then cleared by the specialist to go back to his cell.

Normally, Thayer said inmates are checked on at least once an hour, but he said staff always gives inmates who have recently been convicted a little more attention.

He said Carrell was being checked on about three times an hour and about 20-30 minutes had elapsed between his last check and when officers found him non-responsive in his cell. He said Carrell was in general population and was by himself in the cell at the time.

Kings County Sheriff-Coroner Dave Robinson said the official cause of death was self-inflicted ligature strangulation. He said there was nothing else to report, and said it was a sad situation.

“He was loving, always smiled and had such a passion for life,” Donahue said.

Donahue said Carrell loved everybody he came across and was always telling people to be positive, stay strong and trust in the Lord.

News Reporter

News reporter for The Sentinel

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