A woman who allegedly escaped from handcuffs and hanged herself with a shoelace in the back of a Phoenix police van had earlier tried stabbing her ex-husband with a screwdriver, a police spokesman revealed on Friday.
The woman was arrested on Wednesday for domestic violence and assaulting a police officer, police said. She was being taken to jail and was the only person in the back of the van when police found her unconscious with a shoelace around her neck attached to an air vent above her.
The woman, who is not being named, was rushed to hospital after the officers driving the van tried to revive her, but she was not expected to survive, according to police. They described her as a 39-year-old Caucasian living in Phoenix.
Police released other details about the woman and the events leading up to her arrest early on Wednesday morning, but spokesman Vincent Lewis told HuffPost that it’s still unclear how she freed herself from the cuffs. “This is under investigation,” Lewis said in an email.
Officers transporting her from one station to another for booking drove roughly 20 miles between the two facilities before discovering her unconscious, police said.
She was the only detainee in the vehicle and a partition inside the van makes it difficult to see or hear what’s happening in the rear, the Arizona Republic reported.
Officers arrested her around 1:30 Wednesday morning at her ex-husband’s residence on suspicion of aggravated assault for the attempted stabbing. She was also charged with criminal damage for allegedly damaging his property and aggravated assault of a police officer for “pinning the officer’s arm in a door jam while trying to enter the victim’s residence,” Lewis said.
The ex-spouse and police officer suffered “minor” injuries, according to Lewis.
This piece has been updated to include more details on the woman.
If you or someone you know needs help, call 1-800-273-8255 for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. Outside of the U.S., please visit the International Association for Suicide Prevention for a database of resources.