June 4, 2014 10:09:23 AM
An official cause of death has not been announced for a 32-year-old man found laying unconscious behind the Trotter Convention Center in downtown Columbus on Saturday.
Cantrell Demario Clay, of Columbus, was pronounced dead Monday afternoon, according to Lowndes County Coroner Greg Merchant.
Merchant said Clay was out with friends Friday night before being dropped off in an alleyway near the back door of a friend's Main Street apartment somewhere between midnight and 1 a.m. Clay tried sending the resident a text message asking to be let inside the building. Merchant said the resident did not see the message until waking up at 6 a.m. and finding Clay in front of the apartment. The resident tried waking Clay but he was unconscious, Merchant said.
The resident called family members of Clay, who picked him up, tried unsuccessfully to wake him and took him home. After remaining unconscious for approximately 12 hours, family members took Clay to the emergency room Saturday evening at Baptist Memorial Hospital-Golden Triangle. There, he was treated for a head injury before being transferred to North Mississippi Medical Center in Tupelo, Merchant said.
Interim Chief of Police Tony Carleton did not respond to messages seeking comment Tuesday. Latasha Key, secretary with the department's criminial investigations division, did not respond to messages seeking comment Tuesday.
An autopsy on Clay's body was completed Tuesday in Jackson. Merchant said police investigators are interviewing people aware of Clay's whereabouts Friday to gather information. Until they are done, an official cause of death will not be made public, Merchant said.
"The findings (of the autopsy) were consistent with a fall," Merchant said.
Nathan Gregory covers city and county government for The Dispatch.