Inmate at Allen County Jail dies by suicide; family plans to launch independent death investigation

Local News
Ariona Darling

Ariona Darling –

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) — An inmate at the Allen County Jail was found dead in her cell Sunday. and her family plans to launch a private investigation into her death.

Jailers found Ariona Paige Darling, 18, unresponsive in a cell with a ligature around her neck, the Allen County Coroner’s Office said. She was taken to a local hospital where she was pronounced dead.

An autopsy found Darling died of asphyxia due to hanging and her death was ruled a suicide, the coroner’s office said.

Monday evening, a press release was issued by a friend of Darling’s family. Nicole M. Gaunt is a licensed clinical social worker and in the release she indicated that Darling had “battled mental health issues for years.” The family understood she had been under suicide watch and they don’t understand how she could have taken her own life.

The incident is under investigation by the Allen County Sheriff’s Department.

Darling was being held on charges of Armed Robbery and Criminal Confinement.

The following is the entirety of the press release:

Yesterday Michael and Erica Newton received the worst news any parents could ever receive. Their daughter, Ariona Paige Darling (age 18), was found deceased in the Allen County Jail from an apparent suicide. The Newtons are shocked and devastated by this news. Their daughter had battled mental health issues for years, but they understood she had been under watch for suicide at the Jail. They can’t understand how this happened.

Unlike most county jails in Indiana, Allen County does not refer jail death investigations to ouside agencies such as the Indiana State Police, to investigate. Therefore, the Newtons plan to eventually conduct their own investigation into the circumstances surrounding Ariona’s death. For now, they ask for privacy as they grieve the sudden loss of their daughter.

Nicole M. Gaunt, LCSW
Friend of the Newton Family

The Newton family has created a GoFundMe* page to help cover the cost of funeral expenses.

*WANE.com does not assure that the monies or donations deposited to the account will be applied for the benefit of the persons named as beneficiaries. If you are considering a donation, you should consult your own advisers and otherwise proceed at your own risk.

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