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Inmate found strangled with COVID-19 mask

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MONTVILLE, Conn. (AP) — A 32-year-old prison inmate in Connecticut has been found strangled with a mask issued to help prevent the spread of the new coronavirus.

Daniel Ocasio, of Windsor, died Wednesday morning after being discovered sitting on a bunk in his cell at the Corrigan-Radgowski Correctional Center with a ligature fashioned from the mask tied around his neck, the Department of Correction said.

Ocasio had entered the prison on Aug. 5 and was being held in lieu of $10,000 bond on a charge of third-degree burglary.

Ocasio was found by a staff member who was conducting a routine tour of the facility at 5:07 a.m., the department said. The ligature was made from the cloth mask issued to inmates, the department said.

Correctional and medical staff began emergency and life-saving measures and called 911, the department said. Ocasio was taken by ambulance to an area hospital where he was pronounced dead just before 6 a.m.

The body was taken to the medical examiner’s office for an autopsy to determine whether the death was a suicide, homicide or accidental.

State police have joined prison officials in conducting the investigation.