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.
Join Our Conversation

ADVERTISEMENT

Travel Tips

Hostel

What to Look for in the Best Hostel Deals

A frugal traveler knows not only how to book the cheapest flights but also how to find the best hostel deals in town. It is easy to grab the first hotel accommodation you spot upon arrival especially if you are not familiar with the area. But with a few research prior to your travel, you can spare yourself from the hassle of false advertisement and unnecessary expenses.

Subscribe to our newsletter

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

Want more Travel?

Most Popular

Vladimir Putin

India 10 Nuclear Reactors To Be Realised With Help, Support From Russian President Vladimir Putin: Report

Vladimir Putin has promised India that he will help build 10 nuclear reactors in the Asian country.

Fire At Crathorne Hall

9 Dead House Fire Incident In Kentucky Repeats, 4 Dead 5 Escape From Connecticut House Fire

9 dead house fire incident in Kentucky was reported early in the year. However, it looks like history has repeated itself before the end of the year. Another family has been involved in a tragic house fire killing four whereas five miraculously escape.

Phoenicids Meteor Shower observed for the first time in 58 years

Phoenicids Meteor Shower: First Spectacular Sighting After 58 Years

Phoenicids Meteor Shower – The historical meteor shower was finally recorded by a team of Japanese experts over the Atlantic Ocean for the first time in 58 years. The Phoenicids Meteor Shower was first discovered by a Japanese Antarctic expedition in 1956.

Police Chief Chris Magnus Joins Protest Against Police Brutality

Police Chief Chris Magnus Protests Against Police Violence Gets Attention From Public

Police Chief Chris Magnus is protesting against police violence and he may be sending a clear message to all. On Tuesday, Police Chief Chris Magnus protested alongside the many people who have gathered at MacDonald Avenue at 41st Street, echoing their call for authorities to stop using violence in communities of color.

California Storm Strongest In 5 Years Causes

California Storm: Updates, Strongest In 5 Years Causes Power Outage, Flooding, Severe Damage, Ends Drought But Won't Restore Reservoirs?

The powerful California storm that struck its Northern region Thursday is has caused power outages to to tens of thousands, as well as soaked the region with much-needed rain, albeit flooding, reports the Associated Press. While the California storm may have ended the most intense drought California has seen, it is reportedly not enough to restore the state’s reservoirs.

Check out the beaches in Darwin for some adventure.

Sunshine Destination for the Holidays: Darwin, Australia

If you are tired of shoveling snow or just sick of the cold, maybe it is time to think about spending the holidays somewhere warm. Darwin is a small town in Northern Australia that offers beaches, culture, and best of all 90 degree temperatures.

the Northern Lights

Why Iceland Is The Perfect Place for Adventurers of All Levels

We all like to go adventures now and then. Some of us are intrepid travelers ready for anything, while some of us prefer a place with a little less uncertainty. Iceland is different enough to provide the thrill and adventure we all seek, but is familiar enough to not scare people away.

Canadian Flag

Canada Poultry Imports To US Suspended Because Of Bird Flu, Says US Department Of Agriculture Chief Veterinary Officer

Canadian poultry imports to the United States have been suspended because of the ongoing bird flu outbreak that has already led to the isolation of five farms in Canada.

Find Us on Facebook

travelers today

© Copyright 2014 Travelers Today All Rights Reserved.

Subscribe to our newsletter
Real Time Analytics