DeKalb inmate’s death being investigated; family wants GBI probe

Willie Whonya Lowery Jr.

Willie Whonya Lowery Jr.

A 19-year-old inmate’s death is under investigation by the DeKalb County Sheriff’s Office, officials said.

Willie Whonya Lowery Jr., had been in the DeKalb County jail since Jan. 4 on robbery charges, sheriff’s office spokeswoman Cynthia Williams said in a statement Friday.

On Feb. 23, he was taken to Grady Memorial Hospital after what the statement called a suicide attempt. He died there Thursday, Williams said.

“While preliminary reports indicate that no one else was involved, we will rely on the investigation to determine the facts of the case,” DeKalb County Sheriff Jeffrey L. Mann said in a statement. “At this point, however, we believe that our trained staff performed as required and that we did all that we could to try to assist Mr. Lowery.”

Lowery’s family, who disputed the suicide report during a news conference Friday afternoon, has retained an attorney and wants the GBI to investigate.

“We offer our condolences to his family,” Mann said, “and look forward to sharing the results of our investigation with them so that they can have closure after this unfortunate tragedy.”

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