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Euclid man indicted for allegedly causing overdose death of cellmate in Cuyahoga County Jail

County jail
Posted at 1:35 PM, Jan 21, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-21 13:35:51-05

CLEVELAND — A Euclid man has been indicted for allegedly causing the overdose death of Lea Daye, a 28-year-old transgender woman who died of an accidental overdose of anti-depressants and fentanyl inside the Cuyahoga County Jail in August 2020, according to the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor’s Office.

A Cuyahoga County grand jury indicted Christopher Neal, 31, on charges of involuntary manslaughter, corrupting another with drugs, illegal conveyance into detention facility, tampering with evidence, trafficking and drug possession.

On Aug. 21, Neal was arrested on an outstanding warrant and booked into the county jail where he allegedly smuggled in drugs, giving them to Daye, who was his cellmate at the time.

On Aug. 30, Daye was found unresponsive inside a cell by a corrections officer. Medical personnel administered first aid but she died shortly after EMS arrived. The Cuyahoga County Medical Examiner ruled her death an accidental overdose on fentanyl.

In November 2020, News 5 Investigator Scott Noll spoke to Daye’s mother who was puzzled to know how her daughter got drugs that caused her fatal overdose.

"How is my child in jail 105 days and overdoses on fentanyl," said Felicia Daye last year. "How does she have access to fentanyl?"

On Thursday, the prosecutor’s office said after a months-long investigation, it connected Neal to the overdose death.

The prosecutor’s office said Neal remains in custody on another pending drug case in which he was involved in a crash with a United States Postal Service mail truck in Mentor. Officers recovered drugs, paraphernalia and cash at the scene.

Neal will be arraigned on the new charges surrounding Daye’s death at a later date when a new bond will be set.

RELATED: Mother wants answers after daughter dies inside jail

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