Medical Abuse/Neglect and Suicide




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Suspicious death

By David Linton, Sun Chronicle Staff | December 22, 2006

NORTON - The family of a local woman who died this week in a state prison detoxification program is grieving this holiday season with a lot of unanswered questions about the circumstances of her death.

Prison officials say Nicole Davis, 24, who was in MCI-Framingham in a 30-day drug detoxification program and was not a convicted criminal, hanged herself late Tuesday night.

But her father, Robert Davis, and her older sister, Jill Sirtoli, 31, said family and friends are angry and have a lot of questions.

They say Nicole's death came a day after she reported being molested by a prison guard and that she would not have taken her own life.

"Nobody believes she did this on her own. It was not in her. Not at all," Jill Sirtoli said.

Prison spokeswoman Susan Martin said prison officials investigated the guard and determined through surveillance video from corridor cameras and inmate witness statements that the allegation of sexual abuse were not true.

"Based on the information to date, there is nothing to support these allegations," Martin said.

Martin said as a matter of protocol the Middlesex District Attorney's office was notified of the allegations.

"This is a very tragic situation," Martin said.

The unit of the prison where Nicole Davis was held was monitored every half-hour, Martin said.

Family members acknowledge Nicole, the youngest daughter in a family of five daughters and a son, had numerous problems related to drug use. She also had a 2-year-old son who died in foster care in June.

But Robert Davis said his daughter was in good spirits when he and his wife talked to her Tuesday afternoon and visited her that night.

Family members said Nicole reported being molested by a prison guard Monday and the following night was found dead sitting "Indian-style" on the floor with a bed sheet around her neck.

"How can you hang yourself sitting on the floor?," Sirtoli said.

The prison guard who her sister accused of molesting her was shifted to another unit but was still working, according to the family.

Sirtoli said her sister was a fun-loving person who fell in with the wrong crowd, and "went through hell." Nicole was only in custody because "she was trying to get better" in a detoxification program, she said.

"She got in with the wrong people and we all tried to help her," Sirtoli said. "She goes to get help, and now she's dead," Sirtoli said, weeping.

Nicole's father described her as "kind and generous and loving."

"She wasn't a selfish person," Robert Davis said.

Sirtoli added, "She always had a smile on her face. She loved everyone. Now we're not going to be able to see her smile."

Family members say they are devastated by her death, and the holidays will never be the same without her.

"We're tying to deal with this the best way we can. There are a lot of things that just don't make sense," Sirtoli said.

Nicole Davis was one of two state prison inmates who apparently hanged themselves at separate facilities within two hours of each other late Tuesday and early Wednesday.

Convicted murderer Eduardo Soto, 33, was found hanging by a bedsheet early Wednesday at Old Colony Correctional Center in Bridgewater, corrections officials said.

 2006 The Sun Chronicle

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     Last Updated on Wednesday August 29, 2007.