Family can’t imagine why York Co. inmate would commit suicide

rsouthmayd@heraldonline.comSeptember 14, 2013 

William Blinn, 26, died on Aug. 31 after attempting to commit suicide in his cell at the York County Detention Center. His family and friends remember his as a happy guy and loving father.


Jed Blinn and the rest of his family keep waiting for the nightmare to end.

They hope, he said, that one day they’ll wake up and his brother, William Blinn, will be alive again. Instead they are planning his funeral.

William Blinn, 26, was found unresponsive in his cell on the afternoon of Aug. 31, a sheet wrapped around his neck. He had been in custody for three days at the York County jail after having been charged with grand larceny, safecracking and possession of burglary tools.

He was pronounced dead less than 12 hours later at Carolinas Medical Center in Charlotte.

“It definitely was a shock when I got that phone call,” his brother said.

Blinn said he and his brother were two of eight children, all adopted by a family in Connecticut. But Jed and William were the only two who were biological brothers as well, which gave them a unique bond.

“He was my best friend,” Blinn said.

Blinn described his brother as a happy and outgoing person who would “give you the shirt off his back.”

William Blinn’s former girlfriend, Randi Baker, echoed his brother’s statements.

“He was very energetic, very loving,” she said. The pair had a child together, a 16-month-old daughter.

Baker was the person who got the call that William Blinn had tried to kill himself, and she visited him at the Charlotte hospital. She said he’d been pronounced brain dead and was on a ventilator. Shortly after she left, he died.

It’s her daughter that she’s upset for in all this, she said.

“That’s the one thing that makes me mad,” Baker said. “He took away her chance of getting to know him.”

Baker and Jed Blinn both described William Blinn as a loving father who adored his daughter and always provided for her.

There was no indication that Blinn was depressed or suicidal, they said.

“He was working, everything was going good for once,” Blinn said. “And then I got the voicemail that he was locked up.”

Blinn last spoke to his brother a week before he died.

William Blinn didn’t have a criminal record in South Carolina or North Carolina, but he was charged with a misdemeanor in Florida several years ago, for which he paid a fine, according to court records.

As far as anyone knew, he’d never done anything like the crime for which he was arrested, stealing from the Country Club Market on Saluda Road.

Asked why his brother might have stolen from the store, Blinn said he wasn’t sure.

“I mean, we’ve all had trouble with our past,” he said.

William Blinn’s funeral will be Sept. 22 at the First Congregational Church in Clinton, Conn..

The State Law Enforcement Division is investigating the incident at the jail.

Rachel Southmayd •  803-329-4072

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