Suspect in Greg Lynn Jewelers Heist Found Hanging in Florida Hospital Flagler Bathroom
FlaglerLive | September 13, 2016
Two days after checking into Floria Hospital Flagler, Craig Anthony Chavez, the 52-year-old Palm Coast resident arrested in late June for the alleged robbery of a jewelry store, was found dead in his hospital room’s bathroom of an apparent suicide.
Chavez, a resident of Reinhardt Lane in Palm Coast, where he’d previously lived with a girlfriend of 17 years and her son, to whom he was a father figure, had checked into the hospital on Sept. 7 with chest pains. He was scheduled to be discharged on Sept. 10. On Sept. 9, he asked a nurse if he could take a shower. He was told it was against doctor’s orders as he would have to disconnect the monitoring equipment on his chest.
At 8:48 p.m., according to the Flagler County Sheriff’s Office’s incident report, a patient care technician checked in on Chavez, who was staying in room 2115, to check on his blood sugar. The technician noticed Chavez had left his bed and removed his monitoring equipment. (The report does not indicate why the removal of the equipment had not triggered an alert on nurses’ monitors.) The technician noticed Chavez was apparently in the bathroom, with his door clkosed and a light on.
“She left the room for a few minutes as it was presumed he was using the bathroom,” the report states. “She then returned approximately 10 minutes later and noticed he was still in the bathroom.” Another nurse was notified. The two nurses knocked on the bathroom door, asking if Chavez was ok. He did not respond. They tried opening the bathroom door. It was locked. “They were able to retrieve a tool to unlock the door and opened it,” the report continues. “They found
Craig Chavez hanging by the neck from a white bed sheet from the mounted curtain rod of the shower.” He was not conscious.
They both grabbed him to pull him up to remove tension from his neck, untying the sheet and moving him to the floor to begin CPR. He had no pulse. He was moved to a bed and intubated, but did not recover. He was pronounced dead at 9:18 p.m.
The sheriff’s investigative services division was notified and responded to the scene, as did the medical examiner, who removed the body.
“Our thoughts and prayers are extended to those affected by this very sad incident,” Lindsay Cashio, a Florida Hospital Flagler spokeswoman, said today. “The safety and well-being of our patients, visitors and staff remains our highest priority.”
Chavez had had a troubled year, starting in February, when he was involved in a violent altercation with his then-girlfriend and her teen-age son. He’d been drinking, and, according to the account to police of his 40-year-old girlfriend at the time, had attacked her with a knife and threatened to kill her when she and her 17-year-old son restrained him, and he cut the 17-year-old’s leg with the knife during the altercation. The cut eventually required stitches, but was not deep. Chavez was charged with two counts of aggravated assault-domestic violence. The charges were dropped.
On June 28, Greg Lynn Jewelers, the store in Palm Coast’s Flagler Plaza, was the target of an early-morning burglary. The burglary suspect had used a Saturn that was captured in surveillance video sharply enough that its tag was readable. It led back to Chavez’s girlfriend and their house in the R Section, where Chavez himself, according to his arrest report, brought out items that had been reported stolen at Greg Lynn’s. He was arrested and charged with three felonies and a misdemeanor. That case was making its way through court. On July 25, Chavez pleaded not guilty. The case was scheduled for a pre-trial on Oct. 5 before Circuit Judge Matthew Foxman.
Chavez’s suicide is the latest in a series of suicides that since mid-August. It is at least the fifth suicide in four weeks, the second by hanging. In Flagler, the number of suicides annually have ranged from a total of six to a total of 20, over the past 10 years.