DPS identifies two inmates who died in custody

Local News

WICHITA COUNTY (KFDX/KJTL) — Officials with the Texas Department of Public Safety have identified the two inmates who died while in custody earlier in September.

According to DPS Sergeant Dan Buesing, Cedric Leon Hardesty, 57, and Leo Lawrence, 72, were pronounced dead on September 13 and September 15, respectively.

Wichita County Sheriff’s Office spokesperson Melvin Joyner said just after 1 a.m. on Monday, September 13, Hardesty experienced a medical emergency in a cell.

Staff performed advanced life-saving measures, and Hardesty was taken to United Regional, where he was later pronounced dead.

Then on Wednesday, September 15, at about 1 p.m. Lawrence also experienced a medical emergency.

Lawrence also was pronounced dead at the hospital after staff performed life-saving measures.

Sgt. Buesing said Hardesty was booked into the Wichita County Jail in April 2021 on charges of unlawful possession of a firearm by a felon and violating parole.

Sgt. Buesing said Lawrence was booked in July 2021 and charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.

Following standard procedure, Texas Rangers are investigating both deaths, and the Sheriff’s Office will also conduct an internal investigation.

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