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Prosecutors Detail Sandra Bland Autopsy Report

No injuries found on Bland's body that suggest a violent struggle, Texas prosecutor said at a press conference on Thursday.

by VICE News
Jul 23 2015, 9:02pm

Photo via Waller County Sheriff's Office

Preliminary autopsy results released by the Waller County District Attorney's office Thursday claim Sandra Bland died as a result of suicide by hanging, backing up police allegations that she killed herself in her jail cell on July 13.

After a review by the medical examiner's office, Waller County Assistant District Attorney Warren Diepraam said no injuries were found on Bland's body that suggested a violent struggle. All injuries were consistent with strangulation, he said at a press conference Thursday afternoon.

"The only injury that was found close to the hands were some lacerations or abrasions on her wrists, which are consistent with being handcuffed and struggling," he said. "There were no bite marks or other injuries on her face, on her lips, on her tongue, which would be consistent with a violent struggle."

Bland, a 28-year-old black woman from Illinois, was arrested on July 10 while headed to Texas to start a new job when a police officer stopped her for failing to signal a lane change. The officer alleged she was "uncooperative" after he asked her to exit her car and took her into custody. Three days later, she was found dead in her cell, with authorities claiming she hanged herself with a plastic bag. Bland's family and friends have raised doubts, saying they have no evidence Bland had attempted suicide before or had a history of depression.

The incident is under review by several agencies. Diepraam shot down rumors that his office had not asked for and didn't intend to ask for a second autopsy. Her family can request a second autopsy if they choose, he said.

Related: Sandra Bland 'Previously Attempted Suicide,' Jail Documents Littered With Discrepancies Say

Documents released Wednesday by the Waller County Sheriff's office reveal several inconsistencies in official documents purporting to show what Bland told authorities while in jail. In one document, Bland reportedly said she had previously attempted suicide after she lost a baby. Another form indicates the attempt happened in 2015, while another says 2014. One form indicates that Bland had suicidal thoughts in the past year, while another said she hadn't. It is still unclear as to why Bland was not on suicide watch while being held. Jailers who spoke with Bland when she was being booked said she seemed fine, and that no one thought she was at risk.

In one questionnaire, Bland said she had epilepsy and was on medication for it, but in another document she circled that she wasn't on any medication. In a third document, she again indicated that she was on medication. The preliminary autopsy report also revealed Bland had a significant amount of marijuana in her system.

In a voicemail obtained by a Texas TV station Thursday, Bland can be heard asking, "How did switching lanes with no signal turn into all of this?" In the message, Bland says she's "still just at a loss for words honestly at this whole process."

The Bland family's attorney previously asked why a woman who had expressed excitement about two job offers would commit suicide. The case has gained national attention amid numerous cases of police brutality and has taken off on social media with hashtags #JusticeForSandy and #WhatHappenedToSandyBland.

In dashcam footage released of Bland's arrest, State Trooper Brian Encinia can be heard threatening to drag her out of the car, saying, "I will light you up." Encinia is now on administrative leave.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.