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New Jersey Jail Detainee Dies While Reportedly Begging for Water

by Douglas Ankney

Forty-one-year-old Atlantic County jail detainee Mario Terruso, Jr. died after coughing up blood and begging for water, according to a report in in September 2019.

Alan Wright, who knew Terruso for about 15 years, was working as a jail runner delivering food trays and cleaning carts when he saw Terruso in the admissions area.

Wright said Terruso was sweating profusely and “heaving every 30 to 60 seconds” while begging two nurses for water. The nurses were laughing and accusing Terruso of feigning illness in order to be taken to the hospital, the story said. One of the nurses asked Wright if Terruso “acts like that on the street.” According to Wright, Terruso went about an hour without receiving medical attention.

Then Terruso was suddenly placed into an ambulance. After learning that Terruso had died at the AtlanticCare Regional Medical Center around 1 a.m., Wright contacted his wife to post what he’d witnessed on Facebook. Wright also stated he heard jail guards bragging afterward that they had repeatedly punched Terruso in the face.

Wright was later contacted by the Office of the Attorney General. A spokesman from that office confirmed that the death was being investigated but no disciplinary action was imposed against jail personnel. Terruso was taken to the jail due to failure to appear in court on a family matter. 



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