Man died after being ‘eaten alive’ by bugs in filthy jail cell

Officers were unable to resuscitate Thompson in the cell, where he’d been held for around three months. An autopsy could not determine his cause of death, but the report described an “extremely severe” infestation of small insects across Thompson’s body. His face, upper and lower extremities were pockmarked with cuts and lesions from repeated skin-picking, the report said.

Thompson was arrested on a charge of misdemeanor simple battery in June, court records show. He was held at the Fulton County Jail and awaiting transfer to an Alabama jail for a prior charge, Harper said.

Thompson was healthy and had no preexisting physical health conditions before being jailed, Harper said. He alleged that jail staff noticed Thompson’s condition deteriorate over the months he was detained but did not help him, citing jail records and photos of the squalid condition of Thompson’s cell.

That cell was covered in filth and lice when officers found him unresponsive in September, according to the jail’s incident report. Another report from the Fulton County medical examiner called the insects bed bugs. The officer who first found him “freaked out” and did not immediately administer CPR, a Fulton County Jail supervisor said in the jail’s incident report.