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 January 21st, 2010  
St. Lucie County jail inmate commits suicide, Sheriff Mascara announces
 
A 31-year-old Daytona Beach man, jailed Tuesday on drug charges, fatally hanged himself in a medical cell at the St. Lucie County jail shortly after 5 p.m. Wednesday, according to Sheriff Ken J. Mascara.

St. Lucie County Sheriff's deputies arrested Joshua Dustin Cornelius, of Daytona Beach, at the east exit ramp of the northbound lanes of I-95 at Orange Avenue tuesday morning for possession of a controlled substance, trafficking of a controlled substance and violation of probation for possession of a controlled substance.

Because he appeared at that time to be under the influence of drugs, he was taken to Lawnwood Regional Medical Center and Heart Institute for treatment.

Then he was taken to the jail early Tuesday afternoon where Prison Health Services, the jail medical contractor, conducted a full medical and mental health evaluation. Cornelius showed no signs of mental health issues at the jail, officials said.

Following the medical/mental health evaluation, he was placed in a cell in the jail's medical wing.

Investigators said Cornelius hanged himself in the shower area of his cell late Wednesday afternoon. Prison Health Services medical staff and deputies cut him down, began CPR and applied an automated external difribrillator. St. Lucie County fire rescue workers arrived and pronounced Cornelius dead at 6:24 p.m.

The Medical Examiner's Office, which performed the autopsy this morning, said the preliminary cause of death was asphyxiation by hanging. Fluid and tissue samples will be sent to out-of-town laboratories for further study.

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