Woman Handcuffed and Arrested by Phoenix Police Hangs Herself in Transport Van

Phoenix police handcuffed and arrested a woman early Wednesday morning, then found her unconscious in a transport van, with the handcuffs off and a shoelace tied around her neck.

The woman, whose name was not released, had been arrested at about 1:30 a.m. on suspicion of criminal damage, domestic violence, aggravated assault/domestic violence, and aggravated assault on police, according to Sergeant Vince Lewis, a Phoenix police spokesman.

She was first taken to the Northern Command Station on 302 East Union Hills Drive. At some point, she was driven to the department's booking facility at its Southern Command Station, located at 3443 South Central Avenue. No other prisoners were in the van with her.

"Upon arrival at the booking facility, officers discovered she was unconscious and had a shoelace attached to a vent above her and the other end was tied around her neck," Lewis said in a statement released Thursday afternoon. "The officers immediately cut her free, removed her from the van, and began life saving efforts."

The woman was taken to a hospital but isn't expected to survive, Lewis' statement said.

On Friday morning, Lewis said he had no update on her condition.

It's unclear how the woman managed to slip out of her handcuffs, but the van had two transport officers riding up front who had no idea what was happening, he said.

Police are investigating the incident.
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Ray Stern has worked as a newspaper reporter in Arizona for more than two decades. He's won numerous awards for his reporting, including the Arizona Press Club's Don Bolles Award for Investigative Journalism.