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.

© 2014 Traverlers Today, All rights reserved. Do not reproduce without permission.
Featured Video : Travel Expert Stefanie Michaels aka 'Adventure Girl' Reveals Her Favorite Fourth of July Destinations
Join Our Conversation

ADVERTISEMENT

Travel Tips

20th Anniversary Of First Online Sale

Travel Credit Card: What Are The Best Travel Credit Cards Of 2014 And What To Look For In A Travel Credit Card?

Hopping on a plane and booking a hotel for the next travel would be entirely hassle free with the help of a travel credit card. Yet, where does one start and what should one look for in a travel credit card? Also, what are the best travel credit cards of 2014?

Subscribe to our newsletter

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

Want more Travel?

Most Popular

NOAA Photo Library

Japanese Whaling Research Program: Australia Considering Next Move To Halt Japan's Antarctic

A Japanese whaling research program is currently in the works; however, Australia and other countries are planning to hamper the study that is to be carried out by the powerful Asian country with a long history of killing whales for commercial purposes, The Sydney Morning Herald has learned.

India Space Probe Lanched

India Mars Probe: India First Asian Nation To Launch Mars Obiter; MOM Only Costs $74M Compared To NASA’s $671M?

India Mars probe has entered the orbit of the Red Planet on Wednesday, as reported by the Indian Space Research Organization or ISRO. It was a shoestring-budget Mars Orbiter Mission or MOM spacecraft that was unmanned.

JetBlue cabin

Jetblue Emergency Landing: Jackson Rathbone Tweets Engine Explodes, Smoke Fills Cabin, Emergency Landing Leaves 4 Injured

Jetblue emergency landing at Long Beach Airport occurred on Thursday morning as a JetBlue flight bound for Austin, Texas departed from Long Beach but was forced to turn back shortly. According to officials, the pilot of the diverted plane announced the Jetblue emergency landing at Long Beach Airport due to an emergency with one of the plane’s engines.

Paris Catacombs

Buried In Love: 1500-Year Old Skeletons Holding Hands Italy, 700-Year Old Skeleton Couple Found In England, Skeleton Couple Found In Romania

Archaeologists today have not only discovered the secrets of Stonehenge but some have excavated a number of peculiar graves. Early this year, a 700-year old skeleton couple was found buried in England. The skeletons appeared to have been holding hands. This is the same as the 1500-year old skeletons holding hands Italy and the skeletons holding hands in Romania.

Five Guys

National Cheeseburger Day Sonic Noncompliant But Many Others Offer Free, Discounted Burgers

It's National Cheeseburger Day and Sonic is non-compliant to this wonderful celebration that honors the creation of the amazing bundle of flavors and joy. Nevertheless, there is no time to spare in sulking over Sonic's decision as other establishments have already confirmed that they are giving away free burgers and some even give big discounts for their flavorful and cheesy cheeseburgers.

Blood Alley

Blood Alley Vancouver: Reportedly One Of The Most Haunted Spot in Vancouver

Halloween is fast approaching and what better way to celebrate it that hit up a famous haunted spot. Reportedly, there is one in Vancouver that is worth taking a look at. The name of the place alone is sure to give anyone the spooks. Here’s all there is to know about Blood Alley Vancouver.

Arbeit Macht Frei

Oskar Groning, 93-Year-Old Auschwitz Guard Faces Trial For 300,000 Counts Of Accessory To Murder?

Oskar Groning was once referred to as the “accountant of Auschwitz.” He is also one of the few former Nazi guards assigned at the death camps to speak out against those who denied about the occurrence of the Holocaust.

Find Us on Facebook

travelers today

© Copyright 2014 Travelers Today All Rights Reserved.

Subscribe to our newsletter
Real Time Analytics