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CA- Port Hueneme Child Molester Is Found Hanged in His Jail Cell

7-12-2004 California:

A Port Hueneme child molester awaiting sentencing apparently hanged himself in his jail cell, Ventura County sheriff’s officials said Sunday.

Ronald Lee Bershers, 41, was found dead during a routine check of cells at the Ventura County Jail late Saturday, said Capt. Chris Lathrop.

He had not been considered a suicide threat and had not been placed on any special surveillance, Lathrop said.

“It’s our general policy to question inmates and some of the questions pertain to mental well-being,” Lathrop said.

Bershers was seen alive about an hour before his body was found hanging from a sheet around 10:45 p.m., Lathrop said. Attempts to resuscitate him failed, he said.

Bershers was arrested by Port Hueneme police in October 2002 on suspicion of child molestation, Lathrop said.

He was found guilty in April and scheduled to be sentenced Aug. 12, he said.

Inmates typically are issued two sheets and a blanket, Lathrop said. Bershers apparently tied one of his sheets to a rail at the top of a bunk bed and used it to hang himself, he said.

He didn’t have a cellmate, a jail official said.

Sheriff’s major crime investigators will look into the death. An autopsy performed Sunday determined that Bershers died of asphyxia by hanging, but a ruling on the manner of death was not yet complete, a coroner’s spokesman said. ..News Source.. by Catherine Saillant

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