Two suicides in two months at Mohave County Jail

LAKE HAVASU CITY – A Dec. 21 suicide at Mohave County Jail was the second such incident since November, when a Bullhead City resident hanged himself while in Mohave County custody.

According to Mohave County Sheriff’s Department Capt. Don Bischoff, who oversees jail operations, suicides by Mohave County Jail inmates are rare. Bischoff says the two suicides this year have been the only successful suicide attempts in his 15 years of experience.

“Suicides sometimes happen in jails,” Bischoff said. “For our facility to have gone so many years without one has been a good indication of our detention staff’s ability to prevent them. Jail can be a depressing situation for people…the fact that they’re in jail, at this time of year, can have a lot to do with it. But there’s no smoking-gun answer.”

Mohave County detention officers check on inmates whenever they are in housing units at Mohave County Jail, to ensure inmates’ health and safety, Bischoff said. All staff at Mohave County Jail receive mandatory, annual training in suicide protocols, and inmates are screened for potential suicide-indicators upon incarceration, he said.

“After someone does it, you can go back, you can look for ‘red flags’ in things they’ve said or done. But you already know how the story ends – it makes it difficult to see objectively what the signs might have been.”

According to Bischoff, Mohave County detectives are waiting for autopsy results before closing their investigation into Hansen’s death.