Suspect found hanging in Phoenix police van

BrieAnna J. Frank.

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PHOENIX — A woman is said to be in extremely critical condition after attempting suicide while in police custody in Phoenix.

The woman, whom police identified as a domestic-violence suspect, was in the back of a police wagon and being driven to a booking facility early Wednesday when police say she slipped out of her handcuffs and fashioned a noose out of a shoelace.

Sgt. Vince Lewis, a Phoenix Police Department spokesman, said the woman tied the shoelace around her neck and attached the other end to an air vent above her.

The woman was the only detainee in the back of the wagon, according to Lewis.

Upon arrival at the booking facility, the two transport officers discovered the woman unconscious, cut her free and began life-saving efforts, Lewis said. She was taken to a hospital, where she remained Thursday evening.

Lewis said police wagons are partitioned and officers in the front of the vehicle can’t easily see or hear what’s going on in the back. He added there are no cameras inside the van to monitor what’s happening.

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The woman had been taken into custody at about 1:30 a.M. Wednesday on suspicion of criminal damage domestic violence, aggravated assault domestic violence and aggravated assault on police, Lewis said.

An investigation is ongoing, he said.

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