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Inmate, 23, found dead in Lehigh County Prison cell

Published On: Nov 13 2012 07:06:21 AM EST   Updated On: Nov 13 2012 01:56:17 PM EST

Authorities are investigating the death of an inmate in his Lehigh County Prison cell.

The 23-year-old man was found unresponsive in the cell around 6:30 a.m. and pronounced dead just after 7:32 a.m. Monday, said Lehigh County coroner Scott Grim.

The coroner's office ruled Tuesday that the death of Justin Bowyer, of 537 N. Fountain Street, Allentown, was a suicide.


Ed Sweeney, director of the Lehigh County Department of Corrections, said Bowyer was found with one end of his bedsheet tied around his neck and the other end tied to a wall-mounted shelf.

Bowyer arrived at the prison at 1 a.m. Saturday after being charged by Whitehall Township Police with felony retail theft, Sweeney said.

His bail was set at $20,000. Sweeney said Bowyer did not have a cellmate and was not under any special monitoring precautions. A corrections officer making routine rounds found Bowyer and performed CPR until emergency medical personnel arrived.

The Lehigh County District Attorney's office and the coroner's office are investigating.