On Tuesday, I wrote about the death of an inmate at the Douglas County Jail in Castle Rock. Yesterday, the Douglas County Coroner's Office said Michael Higgenbottom's death was a suicide. He hung himself in his cell. Higgenbottom, age 38, was arrested on September 7 and charged with robbing pharmacies at Walgreen's for the pain killer fetanyl. He had been on a suicide watch, which apparently was discontinued last Wednesday.
A Littleton police detective said that Higginbotham was seriously injured in a car wreck in California about four years ago. Higginbotham apparently left the hospital with unrelenting pain in his knees and a shoulder, and then underwent several surgeries. After his arrest, Higginbotham admitted to detectives that he had been taking fentanyl since 2004, according to court papers. Higginbotham told detectives he had been chewing five, 100-microgram patches of fentanyl a day to ease the pain, a larger dose than what he was able to obtain with a prescription.
Police say he was not selling the drugs. Higgenbottom is free of pain now. It shouldn't have come to this. The investigation into his death is continuing.