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Man in custody of Louisville Metro Corrections dies

Exterior of Louisville Metro Corrections.

A fourth person has died while in custody of Louisville Metro Corrections in a little more than a month. 

Corrections Assistant Director Steve Durham wrote in statement Sunday that 41-year-old Gary Wetherill was found by a corrections officer Dec. 30 after what Durham said was a suicide attempt. Wetherill was booked into the jail Dec. 27. 

Durham said upon finding Wetherill, corrections staff began lifesaving measures before he was transported to University of Louisville Hospital. Metro Corrections Major Darrell Goodlett confirmed jail staff learned Saturday night that Wetherill had been taken off of life support and died. 

Goodlett said in a statement that jail Director Dwayne Clark has opened a Metro Corrections Professional Standards investigation and has asked the Louisville Metro Police Department Public Integrity unit to investigate, which he said is standard practice. 

The Metro Council questioned Director Clark Dec. 8, after three people died while in custody over the previous week. Kenneth Hall, 55, died Nov. 29, Rickitta Smith, 34, died Dec. 3 and Stephanie Dunbar, 48, died Dec. 4. 

The director declined to speculate that day on whether the deaths could have been avoided if there were not staffing shortages; Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer told WFPL in early December that staffing at the jail was down about 15% to 20%. 

Aprile Rickert is LPM's Southern Indiana reporter. Email Aprile at arickert@lpm.org.