Vermont Man Who Tried to Kill Himself in County Jail has Died

Nathan Patnode was taken off life-support equipment.

A Vermont man arrested on drug charges in Clarkstown has died as a result of injuries sustained when he tried to hang himself in a cell at the Rockland county jail in New City, according to the Sheriff’s Department.

Nathan Patnode, 21, of Essex Junction, VT, died on Saturday after he was taken off life-support equipment, according to the Sheriff's Department. Patnode had been in Nyack Hospital in serious condition since his attempt on Wednesday to hang himself by using a torn bed sheet tied to the top of a bunk bed in his cell at the Rockland County Correctional Facility.

While in the hospital, Patnode was officially released from custody, which meant a corrections officer was not needed to guard him while in the hospital. Jail officials said Patnode did not regain consciousness while in the hospital.

Jail officials are still uncertain why Patnode tried to commit suicide while he was being held in a standard cell in the “B” wing of the jail. A corrections officer spotted that there was trouble Patnode's cell at about 6:30 p.m. Wednesday and rushed to his aid.

Chief William Clark, head of the Sheriff's Department's Corrections Division, said that while Patnode was in the jail he did not cause any problems or appear to be distraught until he was found unconscious in his cell.

Clark said a rookie corrections officer, with less than six months working in the jail, spotted that Patnode was in trouble and went to his aid, and a second corrections officer quickly joined in the effort to revive Patnode. Clark said the corrections officers performed CPR on Patnode in the jail before he was taken to Nyack Hospital.

Patnode and another Vermont man were stopped on the New York State Thruway in Clarkstown for traffic violations late on Saturday, Feb. 19 and later charged with possession of Ecstasy, Xanax, heroin and marijuana and a stolen laptop computer, according to State Police.

Patnode was also charged with driving while ability impaired by drugs.

Both men were arraigned before Clarkstown Judge Howard Gerber in Town Court in New City and they were ordered held in the Rockland County Correctional Facility. Patnode was being held on $100,000 bail, and Costello was ordered held without bail.

Clark said that when Patnode was brought to the jail he was screened by corrections officers who specifically look for signs that inmates might be at risk to injure themselves. Clark said there was no sign that Patnode was suicidal or should be put on special watch.

The Sheriff's Department said Patnode had problems with drug use, but did not appear to be connected to selling drugs.

Robert Heinemann February 28, 2011 at 04:26 PM
Chauncy Tillinghast February 28, 2011 at 09:45 PM
We keep hearing how law enforcement is highly paid and benefited so that can protect us however two men are now dead while law enforcement gas been nearby. Three if you count the man who froze to death in his car in the Mall parking lot. Is that what they mean when they say they are there to protect us?
tom kelty February 28, 2011 at 11:00 PM
Easy for you to second guess, however... can you give me the number of lives save as a result of law enforcement being around? You did fail to mention how do you people get the $9 per hr security guards suspended or fired when the state police, park police, clarkstown police and who knows who else must have seen the poor womans car in front of the firehouse and thought nothing of it. I am sure there are far more "stranded cars" in the mall parking lot on the overnight then at Rockland Lake... no? i know I went to both sides on this but I really don't think there is anyone to blame either way...I am so tired of hearing everyone want to blame everyone else for the poor judgement, mistakes, reckless actions and actual ACCIDENTS that happen.
Chauncy Tillinghast March 01, 2011 at 12:11 AM
Not sure where you are coming from Tom. What woman are you talking about. The guy that froze to death was in his car for a couple of days in front of BJ Wholesale not the Firehouse. Perhaps there is some merit to have cops patrolling and it may be a deterrent but is that is the only thing to hang your hat on then you certainly cannot justify the huge salaries and benefits they get. CPD is an average police force and they should be getting average salaries. Retiring at 58 with a pension of $150,000 or more and fullypaid medical for life and paying no NYS income taxes to boot is clearly excessive. BTW I protect myself and my family by staying out of situations and watching my back at all times. I do not need the CPD who I never see patrolling on my street anyway. They usually respond after a crime has been committed and are not proactive at all as far as I can see.
tom kelty March 01, 2011 at 02:51 AM
Rockland Lake... the woman fell from the cliffs. her car was in front of the firehouse for a couple of days. So you protect yourself... does that mean you personally don't need cops? Then be sure to block out going calls to 911 just in case your wife/ friend/ whoever might need to call for help and make a stand! You don't need no stinkin badges!


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