Man hangs self in jail |

Man hangs self in jail

Gregory Crofton

A 27-year-old man from Gardnerville pulled a sheet off his bunk Saturday and hanged himself in a Douglas County Jail cell.

Joseph Manoukian had been prescribed an antidepressant two days before his suicide attempt, said Douglas County Sheriff Ron Pierini.

Medical staff at the Minden jail undid Manoukian’s makeshift noose and performed CPR until a helicopter flew him to Washoe Medical Center. Treatment failed Monday and he was pronounced dead at 9:30 p.m.

Manoukian got in trouble with the law in February for writing bad checks. In May, an East Fork Justice Court judge found him in contempt of court. He failed to comply with the court orders, guidelines and protocol, Pierini said.

He was punished with six months in jail, a sentence which began May 18. About a week later, a psychiatrist prescribed him an anti-depressant, Amitriptyline, and a sleeping pill, Wellbutrin.

“There was no indication he was going to commit suicide,” said Douglas County Sheriff Ron Pierini. “He was seen within 45 minutes of the act.”

The day Manoukian hanged himself he became a trusty of the jail assigned to culinary duties.

“It means he was allowed work details which means we trust him to a point,” Pierini said. “He was doing fine.”

Pierini said if anyone had suspected Manoukian was suicidal, he would have been put in a special cell designed for people who might harm themselves.

Staff and inmates last saw Manoukian alive Saturday at 2:15 p.m. inside a wing of the jail where trustees sleep. At 3 p.m., his roommate opened the door to the cell and found him hanging in somewhat of a seated position.

Manoukian, who comes from a family with a long history in Gardnerville, is the second person this year to commit suicide in the Minden jail.

Thomas Soria Sr. in January took a fatal dose of Amitriptyline. An investigation concluded that Soria hoarded his prescription medication while in jail. The 40-year-old had been accused of the sexual assault and murder of a 9-year-old girl from Meyers.

“We didn’t have any suicides in our jail in nearly 30 years until this year,” Pierini said. “We have guidelines down and we do everything we can. Suicide continues to be the leading cause of death in prisons, jails and juvenile facilities. A statistic I saw recently said it’s something like nine times the suicide rate of the general population.”

Pierini said the Washoe County Sheriff’s Department will join his department in an investigation of Manoukian’s death. He was one of 64 inmates housed in the Douglas County Jail system at the time he hanged himself.

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