Sandra Bland Autopsy Results Released

Sandra Bland was arrested on July 10 and found dead in her cell three days later.
Sandra Bland was arrested on July 10 and found dead in her cell three days later.
Waller County Sheriff's Office

Sandra Bland's autopsy showed no evidence she was murdered, Waller County officials said at a press conference this afternoon.

The  Waller County District Attorney's Office released the results of Bland's autopsy conducted by the Harris County Medical Examiner's Office, and according to Waller County prosecutor Warren Diepraam, the results showed injuries consistent with the original official cause and manner of death: suicide by hanging.

"At this time, I have not seen any evidence that this was a homicide," Diepraam said.

Bland's body was found hanging in her cell at Waller County Jail on July 13, three days after she was arrested during a traffic stop that turned confrontational.

Diepraam said there were no injuries to Bland's hands, head, neck, or internal organs consistent with a struggle, but there were marks on her neck consistent with suicide. There were also 30 scabbed and scarred lacerations on her left forearm which appeared to be about two to four weeks old— injuries Diepraam said are consistent with self-harm.

There were lacerations on her wrist consistent with handcuffing, and scabbing along her back that suggest someone applied some sort of force there. Diepraam said the back injuries could have resulted from Bland brushing herself against an object, or it could have come from the knee of a police officer. He also said there were no injuries to Bland's head consistent with being thrown to the ground.

Diepraam also addressed previously unconfirmed reports circulating earlier today that Bland tested positive for marijuana. He said that according to a preliminary toxicology test, Bland did have marijuana in her system. But the test did not reveal how much marijuana was in her system, how she ingested it, or how long it had been there. He said a more in-depth toxicology test will be conducted soon and could provide more answers. When asked why that information is relevant to this case, Diepraam said marijuana is a "mind-altering and mood-altering substance" that could have affected Bland's mental state while in jail.

Although the autopsy results point to suicide, there are still questions surrounding the circumstances of Sandra Bland's death. Last week,  the Texas Commission on Jail Standards cited Waller County Jail for substandard training in how to handle potentially suicidal and mentally disabled inmates. And yesterday, we reported that Bland's jailers knew she had previously attempted suicide. Meanwhile, multiple law enforcement agencies are continuing to investigate the conduct of Bland's arresting officer.


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