Crime

Jailed Kennewick firefighter dies after hanging

RICHLAND — A Kennewick firefighter who hanged himself in jail last week died Thursday morning, officials said.

Ryan Gladstone, 34, had been at Kadlec Regional Medical Center in Richland since Jan. 18, after he was found hanging by bedsheets inside his cell at the Franklin County jail.

Benton County Coroner John Hansens said that he received a call about 9:30 a.m. from hospital staff, who said Gladstone had died.

An autopsy is being scheduled.

Gladstone joined the Kennewick Fire Department in 2007, and was a good employee and excellent firefighter, said Fire Chief Neil Hines.

"The situation involving Ryan is regrettable and tragic," Hines said Thursday. "Kennewick firefighters have been and will continue to provide support to his family and friends over this difficult period of time."

Gladstone had been accused of sexually assaulting a young girl and had been in the Franklin County jail since Jan. 13.

He was being held in a single-occupancy cell in protective custody in Franklin County because he previously worked as a corrections officer in the Benton County jail.

He was found in his cell by corrections officers on a normal rounds check.

Franklin County Sheriff Richard Lathim said they have reviewed the incident and found that Gladstone had not shown any indications that he was suicidal.

He was in a cell off the master control area -- which likely is where he would have been put if they thought he might attempt suicide -- that officers pass by on a regular basis to get to other areas of the jail, Lathim said.

Gladstone also was being checked on during regular rounds and had been interacting without any issues with staff earlier that day when he was taken to Benton County for a court hearing.

Lathim said jail staff see suicide attempts maybe two or three times a year, but there has been just one other time when the inmate died.

"A lot of times they don't intentionally do a good job," Lathim said. "Sometimes the motive is for attention, sometimes it's to get to the hospital so they can escape."

On Jan. 19, Gladstone was charged in Benton County Superior Court with first-degree child molestation.

He was accused of being under the influence of spice, a synthetic cannabis, when he allegedly molested the girl earlier this month.

Gladstone was put on leave from his job after his arrest. He and his wife, Lindsy, were going through a divorce, and she obtained a one-year protection order against him Jan. 18.

Lindsy Gladstone's co-workers at ConAgra Foods have established a donation account for her and her children.

Donations can be made at any HAPO Credit Union branch to the Gladstone Family Donation Account.

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