Subscribe Now

travelers today

Home » Trending News

Down Syndrome Death: Death of Maryland Man Handcuffed Upon Refusing to Leave Movie Theater Ruled Homicide

Travelers Today       By    Amanda Woods

Updated: Feb 20, 2013 12:10 AM EST

Text Size: A A A

Handcuffs
Robert Ethan Saylor, a Maryland man with Down Syndrome, died shortly after he was handcuffed for refusing to leave a movie theater.(Photo : Wikimedia Commons)

When Robert Ethan Saylor, a 26-year-old man with Down Syndrome went to see "Zero Dark Thirty" with a health aide, his family never expected that he wouldn't return home.

Saylor, of New Market, Md., alone in a Regal Cinemas Westview Stadium 16 theater in Frederick when his aide went to move her car, refused to leave the theater or buy another ticket after having already finished his movie, The Frederick News Post reported. At this, an employee called the police, The Associated Press reported.

Share This Story

The Sheriff's Office told Fox News that Saylor cursed and resisted arrest -- so he was handcuffed and led out. Before leaving the theater, Saylor began having what the Sheriff's Office told Fox News was a "medical emergency." At that point, the handcuffs were removed, and Saylor was taken to the hospital, where he died, Fox News reported.

The state medical examiner determined that Saylor died of asphyxia, the Associated Press reported. Cpl. Jennifer Bailey, the sheriff's office spokeswoman, told The Frederick News Post that the circumstances of his death are still under investigation.

Joseph B. Espo, a Baltimore attorney representing the family, told Fox News that sheriff's officials met with Saylor's family for about an hour Friday. He called Saylor's death "beyond [the family's] imagination."

"I think what they most want to see out of the investigation is a clear account of what happened and why it happened," Espo said.

The deputies who were with Saylor at the time of his death, identified as Lt. Scott Jewell, Sgt. Rich Rochford and Deputy First Class James Harris, continue to work their normal assignments during the investigation. The deputies were working secondary employment with Hill Management at the Westview Promenade, The Frederick News Post reported.

Bailey told The Frederick News Post that the deputies are still working their current duties because of uncertainty around Saylor's death. This case is different from an officer-involved shooting, for example, where the connection between the officers' actions and the resulting death is clear, she added to the paper.

Cpl. Gregg Warner, the sheriff's office's lead investigator in the case, told the newspaper that he awaits the final report from the medical examiner for additional information specifying how Saylor died. So far the agency has found out only the cause and manner of death.

"We want to make sure we have that before any more statements could be made," Warner told The Frederick News Post. "We have formally requested it, but there is a process they have to go through."
Bailey said investigators were not willing to release information about the investigation, including whether Saylor's caretaker or anyone else in the theater witnessed his death.

Once the investigation comes to a close, the results will be forwarded to the state's attorney's office for review, Bailey told the paper.

Frederick County State's Attorney Charlie Smith said his office will review the investigation report and determine whether it requires more evidence from the sheriff's office. After that, Smith said his office could bring the case before a grand jury or decide to either progress in issuing charges or issue a letter of declination.

"If there is sufficient evidence there, we will make that decision and notify the sheriff's office," Smith told the paper.

Smith added that he will not review any part of the case until the investigation is completed.

"It's not going to do us any good to review a partial file," Smith said. "We have an obligation to the victim, as well as to the police officers, to make sure our investigation is thorough and complete."

Dr. George Kirkham, a criminologist and former law enforcement officer, at the College of Criminology and Criminal Justice at Florida State University said Saylor's could have suffered positional asphyxia, which he said is often combined with something called sudden in-custody death syndrome. It's most common among people who are on drugs or suffer mental instability -- and Kirkham said Saylor's Down Syndrome could have contributed to its onset.

"It's a well-known phenomenon, and these people need to be trained about it," he said to The Frederick News Post. Bailey told the paper that these issues are addressed during use-of-force training.

© 2015 Traverlers Today, All rights reserved. Do not reproduce without permission.
Join Our Conversation

Travel Tips

Kas, Turkey

Things to Consider While Planning the Perfect Summer Adventure

It is difficult to figure out where to go when there are so many amazing and breathtaking places around the globe to choose from. But there are a couple of important qualifications that can help narrow down the options: safety, weather, and expense.

Subscribe to our newsletter

Receive the latest travel news, reviews, and more..

Want more Travel?

Most Popular

Jodi Arias Update

Jodi Arias UPDATE: Convicted Murderer To Live In Prison For Life Without Any Chance Of Parole

Jodi Arias’ latest update reveals that the convicted killer is getting a sentence of natural life in prison with no chance of parole. Now that the sentence has been given, the 2008 murder case that made headlines for its salacious details is finally closed.

No reports of injury after a magnitude 3.5 quake in Los Angeles

Los Angeles Earthquake: 3.5 Magnitude Quake Shakes West Los Angeles Five Hours After Smaller Quake, Due To Drilling?

Los Angeles Earthquake – On Sunday night, the U.S. Geological Survey reported that a magnitude 3.5 earthquake shook the Baldwin Hills section of Los Angeles. Residents on social media described the recent Los Angeles earthquake as a “quick jolt.”

Collegiate rowing team gets attacked by Asian carp

Asian Carp Attacks Rowers, Flies Towards Them? [VIDEO]

Asian Carp Attack – Early Friday morning, the Washington University in St. Louis freshman men's rowing team experienced an unexpected scene with a swarm of Asian carp. The Asian Carp attack occurred as swarm flew out of the water and seemingly attacked, or to be more specific, slapped them in the face.

20 sleeping dam workers were killed Balochistan, Pakistan

Dam Workers Killed: 20 Sleeping Workers Gunned By 40 Men In Pakistan

Dam Workers Killed – Early Saturday, gunmen in Pakistan's southwestern Balochistan province shot and killed at least 20 sleeping workers, while wounding three at a dam construction site. The attack which had the dam workers killed is now considered the deadliest attack in recent times which targeted civilians in a region with low-level insurgency.

Disturbing video shows horse thief being beaten by police in California

Horse Thief Beaten By Police: Shocking Footage Shows 11 Officers Brutally Beating Thief, Gets Internal Investigation [VIDEO]

Horse Thief Beaten By Police – A video showing more than ten deputies beating and kicking a suspected horse thief is making headlines. The footage of the showing the horse thief beaten by police has been recorded by an NBC Los Angeles helicopter Thursday, and it lasts for about two minutes.

Six Thais, one Italian injured in car bomb blast on Thailand's Samui island

Thailand Car Bomb Explosion: Injures 7 In Popular Resort Island, Act Of Islamic Insurgency?

Thailand Car Bomb Explosion – On Friday, a bomb exploded at the Central Festival shopping mall in Samui Island in Surat Thani province, one of the country’s popular resort islands. The Thailand car bomb explosion, which went off in the basement of the mall after a fashion show at 11:30 p.m., injured seven people, according to authorities.

7 died in a plane crash near Bloomington, IL while returning home from NCAA championship game

Bloomington, Il Plane Crash: 7 Dead While Returning From NCAA Tournament, NTSB Investigating

Bloomington, Il Plane Crash – Seven people died after a small plane crash in McLean County, Illinois, near the Bloomington airport Tuesday while on its way home from the NCAA basketball tournament in Indianapolis. Authorities said that two members of Illinois State University's athletic department were amongst those killed in the Bloomington, Il plane crash.

Dozens arrested as violence erupts at Kentucky's basketball celebration

Lexington Fans Arrested: Wildcat Fans Rampage Over Loss, 31 Arrests Made

Lexington Fans Arrested – Following the loss of Wildcats to the Badgers, a number of Wildcat fans were left bewildered over the loss. However, some fans were quite enraged that they took their rage literally with a number of fires spread in the University of Kentucky’s Lexington Campus.

Caribbean Beach

Delaware Family Pesticide: Family In Critical Condition Following Alleged Pesticide Poisoning At Caribbean Resort

Delaware Family Pesticide – What should have been a safe and enjoyable Caribbean getaway turned out to be a deadly one. A family from Delaware is in serious condition following an alleged pesticide poisoning at the Sirenusa Resort on St. John in the US Virgin Islands.

Find Us on Facebook

travelers today

© Copyright 2015 Travelers Today All Rights Reserved.

Subscribe to our newsletter