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Prisoner's Hanging Death Investigated as a Suicide

July 02, 1987

LONG BEACH — A Baldwin Park man serving 133 days for drunk driving apparently hanged himself with a telephone cord in the Long Beach Jail on Sunday afternoon, police reported this week.

A jailer found Mark Allen Naetzel, 29, about 3:55 p.m. with the cord around his neck. Twenty-five minutes earlier, the jailer had seen Naetzel sitting on a bunk in the infirmary, smoking a cigarette and not appearing "excited or upset about anything," according to Police Sgt. Gary Whinery.

"At this point, we have no reason to believe it was anything but suicide," said Whinery, of the homicide detail.

Naetzel was serving the seventh day of his sentence. He was assigned as a trusty and given the task of washing police cars, pumping gasoline and other duties. "According to people who supervised him, he was a good worker. There were no problems," Whinery said.

About 11:20 p.m. Saturday, Naetzel asked to be lodged in a cell by himself because "he felt he was having some problem with another trusty, but this has never been confirmed," Whinery said. Jail officials then placed him in the infirmary, which was empty.

Both the homicide bureau and the district attorney's special investigation division plan to investigate--a standard procedure in any police or jail-related death, Whinery said.

"There was nothing to indicate to the jailers that he might do something like this," Whinery said.

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