Fiancée questions in-custody jail death

Image 1 of 4

FOX 26 News spoke exclusively with the fiancée of a man whose in-custody death is being investigated by the Fort Bend District Attorney's Office. The fiancée had just come from the Fort Bend County Jail to grab what little of his belongings were left. She says everything doesn't add up.

"Not being able to say goodbye or not being able to tell him that you love him for the last time, what do you say to that?," asks Ashley Yates as she cries. She says she has yet to get closure after describing her entire world falling apart.

"Eugene is a protector, or at least my protector," says Yates. "He has a little girl who thinks he's amazing and the best person in the world and now I have to tell that little girl he's not here."

What you hear in her voice is both anguish and anger. Yates says her fiancée, 33-year-old Eugene Ethridge, was taken into custody on a felony charge of driving while intoxicated. By Tuesday night, a deputy came to her house to say he was dead and that he took his own life. Yates says everything she has been told is questionable.

"He said basically he hung himself with a sheet." says Yates. "I said, 'My fiancée is over 300 pounds, there's no way he hung himself with sheet."

The Fort Bend County Sheriff's Office allowed FOX 26 News to see inside a cell similar to the one Ethridge was in. Employees are confident that his death was not foul play.

"We have no questions," says Major Chad Norvell. "It's sad someone would do that. He was in a cell by himself." 

But Yates said her fiancée had so much to live for.

"I don't care if I have to spend every dime I have," says Yates. "I'm going to get answers and somebody will pay for it. I'm not giving up and he wouldn't give up on me."

Yates says she wants an independent autopsy. Ethridge was taken to Galveston for an autopsy. FOX 26 learned there were multiple convictions in his file from Harris County.