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Detainee’s death marks 2nd investigation at Central Falls jail since January

A detainee at the Donald W. Wyatt Detention Facility in Central Falls “was found unresponsive in his cell by a corrections officer,” authorities said Monday, March 20, 2017. (WJAR)

A detainee at the Donald W. Wyatt Detention Facility in Central Falls “was found unresponsive in his cell by a corrections officer,” authorities said Monday.

A statement from the privately operated prison noted that Nelson Romero was transported to Pawtucket Memorial Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

Romero was being held at Wyatt for US Marshals in Connecticut.

While state police said Romero’s death was a suicide, authorities didn’t provide more information about him or why he was being held.

“The Rhode Island State Police will be investigating the entire incident and once we have a report from them, we'll share that with you,” Wyatt Board Chairman Luke Gallant told NBC 10 News.

The U.S. Marshal in Rhode Island said the facility is operating under a corrective action plan to upgrade security after inmate James Morales escaped from the facility on New Year's Eve.

Morales was discovered missing from the facility at about 10 p.m. on Dec. 31.

He was on the run for sevearl hours before prison officials knew he was gone.

The warden said Morales climbed a basketball hoop to escape, cutting through wiring and going rooftop to rooftop.

Morales was later captured in Somerville by a Massachusetts State Police trooper on Jan. 5.

As the result of his escape, four correctional officers were put on paid administrative leave, and an investigation is underway.

Following Romero’s death on Monday, jail leaders said other changes have been made at the private jail since Morales escaped.

While the findings of Morales’ escape will be released in the coming days, Gallant wouldn’t discuss details yet.

“We're comfortable that we understand everything that happened,” Gallant said. “We're comfortable that we know the timeline of exactly when everything happened. And I'm confident that we'll able to answer all of the public's questions.”

City Councilman, and former mayor, Tom Lazieh, has echoed criticism in the community that the public was not notified about the escape sooner.

“I think the involvement with the city -- questions of the involvement on that day -- still remain,” Lazieh said.

Morales had been detained at Wyatt for about a year on federal charges, as he was accused of stealing 16 guns from an armory in Worcester.

Massachusetts State Police also noted that Morales was wanted for several other charges, including aggravated rape of a child, rape of a child with force, and three counts of indent assault and battery of a child.

(The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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