Sheriff Honsal Finds Way to Honor Organ Donors Wishes
Press release from the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office:
Eric Matilton was placed in custody at the Humboldt County Correctional Facility on November 3, 2023, for brandishing a firearm and a parole hold. On Friday, November 17, 2023, he was found in his jail cell by correctional deputies following an apparent suicide attempt. Rescue efforts were initiated and performed, and he was subsequently transported to the hospital for treatment.
As a result of this incident, Mr. Matilton’s injuries have been determined to be non-survivable.
In the event that an in custody death occurs inside the correctional facility, the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office and all county law enforcement agencies have signed an agreement to ensure that in custody deaths are investigated by the county’s Critical Incident Response Team (CIRT). Protocol requires that every in custody death must be fully investigated, including the completion of a forensic autopsy, by a contract pathologist. A forensic examination will be used to make a final determination of the cause of death. This protocol is in place to ensure a transparent, evidence-based investigation is completed and sent to the District Attorney for review.
As Mr. Matilton is an organ donor whose family desires to honor his wishes, Sheriff Honsal consulted with counsel, the District Attorney, subject matter experts and a forensic pathologist to see if there was a way to honor Eric’s wishes. As a result of these consultations, the Sheriff has agreed to have a forensic pathologist involved to pursue the donation of Eric’s organs and perform the autopsy to ensure investigation protocol is followed. The Matilton family was also consulted, and the donor network is now making these preparations.
Upon completion of the CIRT investigation, the Humboldt County District Attorney will review all facts and evidence in this investigation to conclude if there is any criminal liability.