The investigation on Fulton County Jail in 2018, revealed the unsanitary living conditions. AFP News/Mohammed Abed

An independent autopsy, released today, reveals that Lashawn Thompson was 'eaten alive' by bed bugs in his cell. The 35-year-old was being held in the psychiatric wing of the Fulton County Jail, in Atlanta.

Lashawn Thompson, depicted with the conditions of his cell.

In September 2022, three months after his arrest, Lashawn Thompson was found unresponsive and slumped over the toilet in his cell. According to the report, after 24 minutes of CPR, he was pronounced dead. There has been an ongoing investigation into the jail since the date of his death.

Ben Crump, the family's lawyer, said that Lashawn Thompson had over 1,000 bites on his body, and bugs were found in his mouth, ears, and nose.

On Monday, Crump said: "I want to go on record: This is the most deplorable death and custody case in history."

While reading the autopsy report at a press conference, Crump recalled: "Cause of death, complications due to severe neglect. The major contributing cause, untreated decompensated schizophrenia, dehydration, malnutrition, severe body insect infestation, and the manner of death is homicide."

Ben Crump concluded: "So it makes it clear, this was not a natural death, this was a homicide."

Ben Crump, the family's lawyer, reads the autopsy at a press conference.

Lashawn Thompson's younger brother, Brad McCrae, also spoke at the press conference. He said: "It is enough that the bed bugs and lice sat there and ate my brother to death, but the neglect hurts me the most. That in 2023 we will see people leave people, let them torture, let them rot in a cell, that hurts me the most."

"These images, all over the internet, all over the media – it's disturbing, it's horrific," he added.

Drying his eyes, he stated: "We hope that we will talk to the governor and he will give us some type of insight into what's going on in his state, to help us help other people."

Images of Lashawn Thompson's cell show the shockingly filthy conditions that he was subject to, for more than 90 days. The floor, desk, and bunk frame were covered in dark brown particles – bugs, faeces, or dirt. The metal was covered in rust, and litter swamped the floor surrounding the toilet.

The viral image reveals the unsanitary cell conditions.

Thompson, who was in custody on an assault charge, had been diagnosed with schizophrenia. The post-mortem toxicology report, written by Dr Mitchell, revealed that Lashawn tested negative for the medication prescribed for his schizophrenia.

Dr Mitchell's report said: "The medication administration log showed that no medication was administered from August 11, 2022 – September 13, 2022."

"Had Mr Thompson received adequate care during his incarceration at the Fulton County Jail then he would not have died at the time that he did," Dr Mitchell concluded.

Seasons 3 and 4 of the A&E docuseries '60 Days In', which also aired on Netflix, followed undercover volunteers into Fulton County Jail. The jail was notorious for housing several members of the infamous gangs, the 'Bloods' and the 'Crips'.

The investigation on Fulton County Jail in 2018, revealed the unsanitary living conditions, several fights amongst the inmates that went unnoticed by guards, corrupt members of staff, along with drugs being smuggled into the facility.

According to data obtained through a public records request, Lashawn Thompson was one of 15 inmates at the Fulton County Jail who died in 2022.

Three members of staff from Fulton County Jail have resigned since the internal investigation into the jail started in September.

Sarah Flack, a criminal defence attorney who has previously represented clients who have been incarcerated at the Fulton County Jail, said: "It is that bad. These men are in there with no hot water, no running water. They're sleeping on the floor... Bugs are still an issue. The drug use in there is rampant."