ROCKDALE COUNTY, Ga. - State investigators have released the cause of a death for a Rhode Island man who died back in the Rockdale County Jail in March. The Georgia Bureau of Investigation said Shali Tilson’s death was pulmonary thrombi due to dehydration.
“A subdural hemorrhage was identified at autopsy, the cause of which was not able to be determined. No fractures or other injuries were found. The manner of death has been ruled undetermined,” read a portion of a statement sent to FOX 5 News.
Tilson was found dead in his cell around 8:25 p.m. on March 12. Investigators said he was along at the time and there were no immediate signs indicating a cause of death.
The 22-year-old man had been in the jail for about nine days being held on obstruction and disorderly conduct charges. His mother, Tynesha Tilson said she was not permitted to see her son while he was on restriction.
The Tilson family attorney said witnesses said Tilson was beaten by a deputy at some point during the nine days that he was held on obstruction and disorderly conduct charges.
"A healthy 22-year-old man who was walked into a jail on a misdemeanor charge shouldn't have come out in a body bag. Either that is gross misconduct or gross negligence, either way, that's not supposed to happen," said attorney Mawuli Davis.
Rockdale County Sheriff Eric Levett previously told FOX 5’s Portia Bruner that Tilson' s death "doesn't sit well with him." He said he also wants to know what happened to the 22-year-old man who was supposed to be on suicide watch.
“I have nothing to hide and if we did something wrong, we will be held accountable for that. We have to let the GBI finish the investigation and let the facts come out as they are. That's why I asked for the investigation,” the sheriff said.
The findings of the GBI’s investigation will be turned over to the Rockdale County Judicial Circuit District Attorney’s Office for their review.