The Slatest

Sandra Bland Autopsy Shows Signs of Suicide, DA Says

Sandra Bland’s mother and sister during a press conference at DuPage AME Church in Lisle, Illinois on Wednesday.

Joshua Lott/Getty

Sandra Bland’s autopsy found signs of suicide but none of homicide, Waller County, Texas prosecutor Warren Diepraam said today at a press conference. From the New York Times:

“In a violent homicide or a murder,” Mr. Diepraam said, “it is typical to see some sort of injuries on the person’s hand, defensive injuries.” But the medical examiners “found no evidence whatsoever of any injuries on Miss Bland’s hands.”

When a person is strangled by someone else, he said, there are usually multiple signs of struggle, like petechiae, or tiny hemorrhages, in the eyes and mouth, and involuntary bite marks in the mouth, but there were none on Ms. Bland. Any object used to strangle her would have moved and slipped, causing multiple marks, but instead, there was “a uniform and consistent ligature mark around her neck,” consistent with hanging.


Approximately 30 cut marks were found on Bland’s left arm that appeared to have been inflicted two to four weeks before her death, Diepraam said. (On the subject of her mental condition, CNN writes, one jail intake form “states that Bland tried to overdose with pills in 2014 after losing a baby” but a different form “has ‘no’ answers next to questions about mental illness and attempted suicide.” Waller County officials say that the discrepancy exists because Bland answered the same questions differently at different times.)

Earlier this week the DA’s office said that investigators are looking for DNA and fingerprints on the plastic bag that was found around Bland’s neck. Further toxicology tests are also being conducted after initial tests found marijuana in her system—a finding that prosecutors say could be relevant to her state of mind at the time of her death.

Bland’s family has ordered an independent autopsy, the results of which are expected to be available this week.