Ener suicide probe released

David Saenz

A common area jail door that did not latch properly may have contributed to Dr. Mine An Ener’s suicide on Aug. 30. Ener may have grabbed the plastic garbage bag she used to suffocate herself during the 15 minutes the door was left open, published reports said.

On Sept. 19, the Ramsey County Sheriff’s Department released a report detailing the hours leading up to Ener’s suicide as well as the results of its investigation into her death.

The report stated that Ener paced around one of the jail’s common areas early in the day on Aug. 30. She told a deputy she was exercising. Ener ate her entire lunch and was in an upbeat mood that day.

According to a St. Paul, Minn., newspaper, deputy Cheryl Caumiant left the common area at about 1:50 p.m. She radioed the control room and asked them to mechanically close the door behind her. The sheriff’s report said, “She did not hear the door go bang, but felt sure that the door closed.” The door was found open approximately 15 minutes later.

While the door was open, inmate Tierny Young saw Ener on the other side retying a plastic bag into the trash container. The jail-cleaning contractor regularly left extra garbage bags at the bottom of the containers.

According to published reports, Ener’s family does not plan to file a lawsuit over the death. Instead they hope to see the system improved.

Following Ener’s suicide, the Ramsey County Adult Detention Center has discontinued the practice of leaving extra garbage bags at the bottom of trash containers.

They have also begun checking that mechanically locked doors close fully.

Ener, who was arrested on Aug. 4 for killing her 6-month-old daughter, had previously tried to commit suicide by hanging herself with a sheet. As a result of her suicide attempt, she was issued heavier clothing that could not be knotted, and the jail staff was required to check in on her every 30 minutes.

At the time of her arrest, Ener was taking medication for postpartum depression.