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Investigaton continues into three inmate deaths last week at Menard Correctional Center

  • The Menard Correctional Center in Chester

    The Menard Correctional Center in Chester
    Herald Tribune file photo

  • Kevin Curtis

    Kevin Curtis

updated: 9/13/2018 1:35 PM

The Illinois Department of Corrections and the Randolph County Coroner's office are investigating what killed three inmates last week at Menard Correctional Center in Chester, who died on three consecutive days.

According to Randolph County Coroner Carlos J. Barbour, the inmates died Sept. 5, 6 and 7. He said he does not suspect foul play.

"The Randolph County Coroner's office and the Illinois Department of Corrections are investigating three separate offenders' deaths that occurred last week at Menard Correctional Center," Barbour said in a news release.

On Thursday, Barbour identified the inmates as Kevin Curtis, 31, who died Sept. 5; Edwin Freeman, 45, who died Sept. 6; and Timothy Murray, 32, who died Sept. 7.

Barbour said autopsies have been performed on all three but the causes of death are still unknown, pending toxicology results. Barbour said those could take up to eight weeks to become available.

Lindsey Hess, media administrator for the Illinois Department of Corrections in Springfield, confirmed the department was looking into the deaths, but had no further comment. The IDOC did not respond to questions as to whether there could be a possible public health emergency at the prison.

An Illinois State Police spokesman said the ISP sent a crime scene services team to Menard in the wake of the deaths, which he said is generally standard operating procedure when an inmate dies. It is not known what the crime scene services team found at Menard.

Meanwhile, the ISP is not involved in the ongoing investigation, the spokesman said.

Curtis, a resident of Waukegan, was sentenced to 20 to 60 years after being convicted in 2017 for stabbing a friend to death in a hotel room in Waukegan in 2013, according to the Daily Herald, based in Arlington Heights.

Curtis' attorney, Kevin Malia, said Thursday he was "shocked and saddened" when he learned of Curtis's death, but added he has not heard any additional information about his cause of death.

The hometowns and backgrounds of Freeman and Murray were not available.

Daily Herald Media Group staff writer Lee Filas contributed to this report.