The Los Angeles Times is reporting that an inmate at the state prison in Otay Mesa was dead for days last April before prison staffers realized it, according to a recently released autopsy report.
Apparently the smell of the inmate’s decaying body is what lead staffers to the deceased prisoner.
The medical examiner’s office, which released the report earlier this month, said James Acuna’s cause of death was “undetermined,” noting it was possible the 58-year-old inmate serving a third prison term died of natural causes.
At one point, the smell from Acuna’s two-man, second-floor cell brought complaints from other inmates and prompted staffers to put in a work order, suspecting there was a sewer problem.
It is unclear how staffers were unaware of Acuna’s death, despite daily routine head counts, including a count during which inmates are required to stand at their cell doors.
A spokeswoman with the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, which runs the state’s prisons, also declined to identify or discuss the cellmate, citing privacy reasons.
Basically it’s a cover-up of clearly demonstrated incompetence.