KINGSPORT — A Kingsport man who hanged himself in the Kingsport City Jail late Thursday night remained in critical condition Sunday in the intensive care unit at Holston Valley Medical Center.
The incident was reported to the Times-News on Sunday by family members of Dennis James Ramey, 50, Pine Crest Apartments, and was later confirmed by the Kingsport Police Department.
Due to the unavailability Sunday of officers who were on duty when the hanging occurred, KPD Lt. Jerry Robinson was only able to give a few details about the incident. He confirmed that Ramey had been charged with public intoxication and trespassing and that the hanging occurred in the jail around 10 p.m.
A family member of Ramey, who asked not to be identified by name, added several other details that she said had been provided to her by police Friday.
She said Ramey had been experiencing problems with a girlfriend and had returned to the girlfriend’s apartment complex on Stone Drive Thursday evening after being told not to come back.
Police later arrested Ramey at a nearby liquor store. He reportedly hanged himself with a blanket in the jail.
The family member who contacted the Times-News said Ramey’s family is not pleased with KPD’s notification of the incident.
Ramey reportedly called a sister he lives with after being arrested but didn’t get through. When the sister later checked her messages, another family member called the jail shortly before midnight. She was reportedly told by jailers Ramey had been released at 10 p.m.
The family worried about his whereabouts all night, according to the family member who contacted the Times-News. It wasn’t until Friday afternoon that a HVMC nurse looked through his wallet, found a contact number and phoned family members to tell them where Ramey was.
“The whole family is concerned about this matter,” the family member told the Times-News. “He had a contact number in his wallet and the Kingsport police should have contacted someone after this happened. We were calling looking everywhere for him the next day, and the nurse at Holston Valley finally called us at 1 or 2 in the afternoon the next day.”
Personnel at the jail on Sunday had no information why the family was not contacted Thursday night.
Family members have reportedly been invited to speak about this matter with Kingsport police administrators today.
Ramey has not been conscious since the hanging and is currently on a respirator at HVMC, according to the family member.