Rockdale inmate dies of apparent suicide, officials say; GBI investigating

The woman was discovered by deputies Saturday and taken to Piedmont Rockdale Hospital. She was pronounced dead just before 9:30 p.m.
The woman was discovered by deputies Saturday and taken to Piedmont Rockdale Hospital. She was pronounced dead just before 9:30 p.m.

Authorities are investigating after a Rockdale County inmate died last weekend of a self-inflicted injury, the sheriff’s office said.

The woman, 47-year-old Dawn Sherri Goodman of Norcross, was discovered by deputies Saturday and taken to Piedmont Rockdale Hospital, sheriff’s office spokesman Deputy Lee Thomas confirmed. She was pronounced dead just before 9:30 p.m.

Authorities did not say how Goodman killed herself, but the GBI was called in to investigate the in-custody death. GBI agents interviewed all the deputies involved as well as the inmates in the surrounding area, the sheriff’s office said. It wasn’t immediately clear Friday how long Goodman had been in jail or what she was charged with.

The incident marks the fourth inmate death at the Rockdale County Jail since March 2018, authorities said.

Shali Tilson, 22, was found dead in a solitary cell March 11, 2018, nine days after he was arrested on misdemeanor disorderly conduct and obstruction charges. An autopsy by the GBI found Tilson died from blood clots in his lungs caused by dehydration.

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His parents said he suffered from bipolar disorder and schizophrenia, and was on the verge of a “psychotic break” when he was arrested.

Shali Tilson
Shali Tilson

Credit: Contributed

Credit: Contributed

Attorneys for Tilson’s family said the cell where he was held had no water source, and that he had been without water for three days at the time of his death. In addition, an internal investigation by the sheriff’s office determined the deputy who was supposed to be monitoring Tilson falsified the suicide watch log.

A special grand jury later found his death was “preventable” and caused by staff complacency and lack of procedure, AJC.com previously reported. But it did not find evidence that “any person, criminally or intentionally, caused the death.”

More than two months later, Rockdale deputies found 40-year-old Douglasville resident Jamie Krischelle Henry dead in her cell during a routine check, officials said.

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And last November, a third inmate died after suffering some type of medical complication during a routine headcount the day before, according to the sheriff’s office. He was assisted by the jail’s medical staff until paramedics arrived and took him to the hospital, where he died.

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