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Adam Howe rejected by mental hospital before dying in custody

A Massachusetts mental hospital reportedly refused to take in a murder suspect accused of killing his own mother, sending the man to a jail where he later died in custody.

Adam Howe, charged with murdering his 69-year-old mother, Susan Howe, before setting her body ablaze on the front lawn of her $900,000 Cape Cod home on Friday, died by an apparent suicide Sunday evening after suffering a “medical emergency” in his cell at the Ash Street Jail in New Bedford, authorities said. 

In a statement released Monday, Cape and Islands District Attorney Michael O’Keefe said his office attempted to have the 34-year-old Howe placed at Bridgewater State Hospital. 

Bridgewater, run by the state Department of Correction, “refused to take Mr. Howe, saying they didn’t take Section 12 commitments,” O’Keefe’s office said in a statement obtained by Fox News Digital. “They would only take someone committed under Section 18.” 

Adam Howe was charged with murdering his 69-year-old mother, Susan Howe, before his death.
susan.stolberg.howe/Facebook

Section 18 refers to when a “person in charge” of a jail calls for an inmate to be seen for a mental evaluation at Bridgewater, while Section 12 applies to when “a physician” or another professional needs to “apply for hospitalization” at a mental institution, according to The Boston Herald. 

Truro Police said emergency personnel responded to a residence at approximately 9:30 p.m. Friday “as a result of a request for a well-being check and a separate report of a fire.” Upon arrival, they encountered the younger Howe outside the house and a fire on the front lawn. 

As the emergency personnel realized that it was a body that was burning, the male subject ran into the house and locked the door, police said. The Cape Cod Regional SWAT Team responded and ultimately made entry into the home, placing the younger Howe into custody. 

Mugshot of Adam Howe.
Adam Howe reportedly died Sunday evening after suffering a “medical emergency.”

Susan Howe smiling with a dog and baby.
69-year-old Susan Howe was reportedly killed by her own son.

Photo of Susan Howe smiling.
Susan Howe’s body was allegedly set ablaze on her front lawn in Cape Cod.

Picture of Adam Howe and Susan Howe embracing.
After allegedly killing his mother, Adam Howe reportedly had trouble breathing and was brought to Cape Cod Hospital.

O’Keefe said “evidence suggests” the victim was Howe’s mother. Howe “experienced difficulty breathing” at the murder scene, O’Keefe said, so the man was brought to Cape Cod Hospital at 12:30 a.m. Saturday. 

“He was shackled to a gurney after being examined and being watched by hospital personnel with eyes on him at all times,” according to O’Keefe’s office. “In the room also were Massachusetts State Police and security personnel from the hospital. The hospital wanted to have him discharged as soon as practical, and efforts were made to contact a secure facility to take him.”

Police at the scene of a murder.
DA officials said they tried to have Adam Howe placed in Bridgewater State Hospital.
WCVB 5 ABC

“An on-call judge was finally located at about 3 a.m., and she listened to the physician in charge of the emergency room and to the District Attorney and issued an order under Section 12 of Chapter 123,” O’Keefe’s office said. “The District Attorney then contacted Bridgewater to apprise them of the Judge’s order and the Judge’s willingness to speak with them directly.”

Rejected by Bridgewater, Howe was ultimately taken to Ash Street Jail, which was given the “discharge summary from Cape Cod Hospital and a police report of the incident resulting in his mother’s death,” O’Keefe said, noting, “Both of which indicated suicidal ideation.”

Police standing at the scene of a murder.
Officials found Adam Howe’s body in his cell after he died from an apparent suicide.
WCVB 5 ABC

While inside his jail cell, Howe “clogged his airways with wet toilet paper and suffered a medical emergency,” according to the Bristol County Sheriff’s Office. 

He was found dead in his cell at approximately 5:14 p.m. Sunday, O’Keefe’s office said. 

If you are struggling with suicidal thoughts or are experiencing a mental health crisis and live in New York City, you can call 1-888-NYC-WELL for free and confidential crisis counseling. If you live outside the five boroughs, you can dial the 24/7 National Suicide Prevention hotline at 988 or go to SuicidePreventionLifeline.org.

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