BEAUFORT COUNTY

Inmate collapses in Beaufort County jail, later dies

cconley@islandpacket.comSeptember 27, 2012 

Randolph Wiggins

An inmate at the Beaufort County Detention Center collapsed in his cell Sunday and died a day later at Beaufort Memorial Hospital, officials said Thursday.

The inmate, Randolph Wiggins, 30, of Hilton Head Island, has a criminal history that dates to at least 2005, with at least two felony convictions. He was charged Sept. 20 with aggravated criminal domestic violence and had been in jail since, with bond set at $75,000.

The cause of death has not been determined, and results of an autopsy performed Tuesday at the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston are pending, Beaufort County Coroner Ed Allen said.

Foul play is not suspected: "There isn't evidence of such at present," Allen said.

Allen said autopsies are "routine" anytime someone dies while in custody. The official cause of death isn't expected for another four to six weeks.

Wiggins was taken to jail three weeks after he allegedly threatened to kill his fiancèe. He was accused of pointing a "long shotgun" at her at about 4:30 a.m. Sept. 3 during an argument and asking her, "Are you ready to die?"

His first court appearance on the charge was tentatively scheduled for Oct. 19, according to a spokesman for the 14th Circuit Solicitor's Office.

Wiggins has been arrested at least seven times in the past seven years and has convictions for misdemeanor cocaine possession and felony aggravated assault. He also has been convicted of discharging a firearm into a dwelling and has served time in state prison.

Authorities say Wiggins was found unresponsive in his one-person cell Sunday evening by a jailer. The jail nurse provided first aid until EMS crews arrived. It's not clear if he was conscious when paramedics got to his cell.

He was transported to Beaufort Memorial, where he died Monday. It's not clear why the death wasn't announced until Thursday, when Beaufort County sent out a news release about the incident.

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