Records: Uncharged radio led to delayed medical response for inmate found dead Sunday

Eric McCuiston, 41, was found unresponsive overnight Sunday

Eric McCuiston, 41, was found sometime after 1 a.m. in his cell unresponsive, according to the sheriff’s office.
Eric McCuiston, 41, was found sometime after 1 a.m. in his cell unresponsive, according to the sheriff’s office. (KSAT)

SAN ANTONIO – A Bexar County detention officer who found an inmate unresponsive early Sunday was delayed in reporting the medical emergency because his handheld radio was not charged, a facility incident report obtained by the KSAT 12 Defenders confirms.

The inmate, 41-year-old Eric McCuiston, was pronounced dead around 1:45 a.m. Sunday.

The report indicates that two inmates serving meals discovered that something was wrong with McCuiston around 1:15 a.m.

“Hey boss, I think we have a dead body,” one of the inmates told the detention officer responsible for the report.

The officer wrote that he then ran upstairs to McCuiston’s cell and found him on the floor, unresponsive and in the fetal position.

The officer “attempted to initiate a Code One Blue via and held radio, but it had no charge,” the report states.

Bexar County Jail inmate found dead overnight identified, may have been waiting for COVID-19 test

The reporting officer then ran back downstairs and was able to get the Code One Blue, an emergency call in which a person quickly receives medical attention, called in.

The report indicates that McCuiston was in his bed and did not appear to be in distress when the reporting officer checked on him around 11 p.m. Sunday.

The report does not indicate whether McCuiston was checked on by other detention officers between 11 p.m. and 1 a.m.

Bexar County Sheriff’s officials on Monday defended the agency’s handling of McCuiston, stating via email, “Due to the ongoing death investigation we are not able to elaborate on specifics for this case however, preliminarily, it appears that all checks were conducted within the allotted time frame as mandated by the Texas Commission on Jail Standards (TCJS). This was substantiated by written reports and technology.”

The statement went on to read that observation checks vary depending on the classification of a unit.

McCuiston was being held in an intake medical isolation unit, which is used to house inmates that are waiting for a COVID-19 test after being booked in the Adult Detention Center, sheriff’s officials said Sunday.

His cause and manner of death are still pending, an official with the Bexar County Medical Examiner’s Office said Monday.

McCuiston had been booked for an out of county warrant from Nueces County for possession of a controlled substance, a third-degree felony.

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