No indictment in death of man in PAPD custody

Manuel Delacruz

Jefferson County Criminal District Attorney Bob Wortham announced Oct. 5 that a grand jury has returned a no bill in the matter of the in-custody death of Manuel Delacruz, 26, of Port Arthur on Aug. 1. Port Arthur police had been called by the Delacruz family to assist with a family member who was experiencing an episode of schizophrenia. The police officers responded to the Medical Center of Southeast Texas, spoke with family members, and escorted Manuel Delacruz into the emergency room. During the admission process, Delacruz became unruly and a struggle ensued with the police officers, according to a press release from the District Attorney’s Office, and additional officers were summoned to the scene. Upon arrival of additional officers, Delacruz was subdued and finally handcuffed. After being handcuffed, Delacruz became unresponsive and immediate medical assistance was summoned. Medical personnel were not able to revive Delacruz. 

A subsequent autopsy revealed no asphyxiation and no trauma to the body. The autopsy was unable to determine a cause or manner of death, and the grand jury review of the incident resulted in no charges being brought against the officers. 

Manuel Delacruz’s death is certainly a tragedy for the community, Wortham said, and representatives of the District Attorney’s Office have met with the Delacruz family.