Published On: Wed, Jul 17th, 2013

Death of Ethan Saylor, Down Syndrome man, at theater now a homicide as details emerge

New documents reveal that Frederick County sheriff’s deputies, who tried to force a young man with Down syndrome out of a movie theater, were warned he would “freak out” if they touched him.

The decision led to his death as Robert Ethan Saylor’s aide tried to explain his condition, but sadly this contributed to his death.

Ethan Saylor

Ethan Saylor

“Next thing I know, there are I think three or four cops holding Ethan, trying to put him in handcuffs,” the aide told authorities, according to documents from the Frederick County Sheriff’s Department obtained Monday by the Associated Press. “I heard Ethan screaming, saying ‘ouch,’ ‘don’t touch me,’ ‘get off’ and crying. Next thing I hear is nothing.”

The aide’s statement about what happened the day Saylor died is among a package of documents released to the Saylor family’s attorney and the Associated Press by the sheriff’s department detailing its criminal investigation.

The 98-page incident report and handwritten statements from 22 witnesses provide the most detailed account yet of how Saylor, age 26, went from wanting to watch a movie he liked twice to dead from asphyxiation within minutes.

“I don’t understand why it has taken this long to produce,” Joseph Espo, an attorney for the family, said of the report Monday night. “We’re happy that we finally have it.”

Before the documents were released, only the most basic details of what happened that January day were known.

The aide, whose name was redacted from the documents, said Saylor had a history of angry outbursts and had lost his temper earlier that evening. As they stood outside the theater after the movie, he began cursing and punched a storefront window, frightening her, she wrote.

Advised over the phone by his mother and another caregiver to give him a few minutes to calm down, the aide went to get the car, leaving him in front of the theater, she told authorities. By the time she returned, Saylor was in the theater, seated, and a manager was telling her that he couldn’t watch the movie because he hadn’t paid for a ticket.

“I explained, ‘Yes, we are having a little issue, I’ll handle it. We just have to be patient,’ ” the aide wrote in her statement. “Then a sheriff came and said, ‘Another show is starting. I have to go get him out. I explained Ethan is (sic) Down syndrome.”

The aide said she advised the deputy to “wait it out.”

“Then the sheriff went in and started talking to Ethan and Ethan was cursing at him,” the woman wrote, adding that the officer threatened to arrest Saylor. “I then said, ‘Please don’t touch him, he will freak out.’ ”

The Chief Medical Examiner’s Office in Baltimore ruled Saylor’s death a homicide as a result of asphyxia. There was unexplained damage to his larynx.

A witness said one of the deputies had a knee on Saylor’s back, but no one reported seeing the deputies touch Saylor’s neck.

Full Story from Washington Post here

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About the Author

- Brian Attenberg, The Cavalier Expert in All Things Weird, Strange and Otherwise Odd

Displaying 7 Comments
Have Your Say
  1. Tyler Gay Thompson says:

    That little fart had it coming. Why should he get a pass to be a d**k? See you in hell, Ethan!

  2. Cops Get Away with Murdering Robert Ethan Saylor, A Young Man with Down Syndrome | Crippled Politics says:

    […] Death of Ethan Saylor, Down Syndrome man, at theater now a homicide as details emerge […]

  3. Tom says:

    Gridlock, that’s just wrong.

  4. Gridlock says:

    A dead violent fat stupid blob that was perpetually unemployable and a gross burden to his mother.

    How does society LOSE from this event?
    We all win here. We all win.
    Except for the dead fat blob slob.
    And that’s a good thing.

  5. Justice for Ethan says:

    Yes, thank you. Please keep following it. Is it possible to obtain any indication from the DOJ about whether they are looking into Ethan Saylor’s killing?

    Another followup could be investigating what if anything the Sheriff is doing in terms of training to give his deputies A BLOODY CLUE.
    The Sheriff claimed his deputies were using current training methods (or something to that effect). That is a bald-faced lie. There are readily available law enforcement training bulletins and video training materials instructing officers how to handle people with disabilities WITHOUT KILLING THEM.

  6. Just The Truth says:

    Thank you for following this story. It has been a tragedy from the beginning and the Frederick County Sheriff has done nothing but sweep it under the rug and deny responsibility.
    Please advocate for JUSTICE!

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