Family says inmate covered in bugs starved in jail

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The family of a Shelby County inmate who was reportedly found covered in bugs and lice is calling his death a homicide.

According to the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, Ramon McGhee was found unresponsive at the Shelby County Jail on January 10. He died two days later in the hospital.

His family is outraged. Friday, McGhee’s family released photos that show him covered in insect bites.

Attorney: Shelby County inmate who died was infested with insects

“As far as the trust from the community to 201 Poplar there is none because the same thing keeps going on and nothing changes,” said McGhee’s aunt Vervita McGhee Stiger.

The family is being represented by civil rights attorney Ben Crump, who says according to an independent autopsy, this was a homicide.

“They put in their record adult abandonment. Adult abuse,” Crump said. “They found in an autopsy that a major factor in his death was starvation.”

McGhee’s mother says she tried to contact him while he was incarcerated, but she says she was denied for months.

“I would send to him like three times a week, so I don’t understand how he was starving if I was sending him meals,” Lisa McGhee said. “That’s telling me they weren’t giving him his food or medication.”

‘Unacceptable’: Sheriff addresses inmate’s death in jail

The Shelby County Sheriff’s Office admits directions regarding McGhee’s cell cleaning and personal hygiene were disregarded and “crucial information was withheld.”

In a statement, the sheriff’s office said in part, “Those within the Sheriff’s Office who neglected their responsibilities regarding this tragic incident are not reflective of our values.”

The TBI is investigating McGhee’s death.

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