Autopsy finds man who died in cellblock died of self-inflicted asphyxiation

  • Thomas Lional Woods, 63

KAILUA-KONA — An autopsy was conducted Wednesday morning on Thomas Lional Woods, the 63-year-old man who died early Sunday in a police holding cell following an apparent murder-suicide attempt over the weekend in South Kohala.

Hawaii Police said Thursday morning that preliminary results indicate Woods died at the North Hawaii Community Hospital due to asphyxiation stemming from a self-inflicted injury while being held within a temporary cell at the South Kohala Police Station.

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Woods was found unresponsive within the cell at 12:50 a.m. Sunday. Police said personnel immediately began CPR and summoned Hawaii Fire Department personnel.

Medics transported Woods in critical condition to the Waimea hospital where he was pronounced dead later that night, Hawaii Police said Tuesday.

Woods had been taken into custody late Saturday after police responded shortly before 9 p.m. to a home off Kanehoa Street to a report of a possible murder-suicide incident. The report came in from a third party on the mainland.

Upon arrival, officers determined that the suspect, later identified as Woods, had barricaded himself and his 91-year-old father within the residence.

According to police, Woods was heard making verbal threats that he was going to kill his father. Officers were subsequently able to contact Woods and take him into custody without further incident. He was then transported to police station.

His father was located within a bedroom of the residence, bound and with life-threatening injuries, police said. Hawaii Fire Department rescue personnel responded to the scene and transported the 91-year-old in critical condition to North Hawaii Community Hospital. He remained hospitalized as of last report.

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Police have initiated a coroner’s inquest investigation in connection with Woods’ death.

As police say is standard practice in any police-involved death, the department’s Criminal Investigation Section will conduct an investigation into the death and the circumstances leading to it, and the Office of Professional Standards will conduct an administrative investigation.