Eldery suspect dies in Maryland jail

Staff report


An 81-year-old Maryland man who was to be arraigned possibly this week in the rape of a young girl in Cortland died Sunday in a jail in Maryland.

Lt. Michael Holmes of the Cecil County, Md., Sheriff’s Office said jail personnel found Howard Garfield having a heart attack about 12:45 p.m. Sunday.

Jail staff and paramedics administered cardiopulmonary resuscitation, but Garfield was pronounced dead at a hospital in Elkton, Md., where he was taken.

Holmes said it did not appear Garfield’s death was suspicious, and a preliminary ruling found he had a heart attack.

Garfield did have health issues before he was booked into the jail last week, Holmes said.

A prosecutor’s complaint in Trumbull County Common Pleas Court said Garfield, of Townson, Md., admitted to raping the girl, when she was between 9 and 11 years old, when he was being treated at a veterans hospital for suicidal thoughts.

He also admitted sending inappropriate text messages to the girl, according to the complaint, which added that Garfield was a friend of the girl’s family.

The hospital contacted Cortland police, who were aided by police in Baltimore County, Md.

He at first denied then admitted the conduct, according to the complaint.

Holmes said Garfield was due to be transferred to Trumbull County sometime this week.

He said an autopsy by the office of the chief medical examiner in Baltimore and an investigation is underway into Garfield’s death.

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