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Family Spends Months Looking for Relative Who Died in Jail

February 7, 1996

CHICAGO (AP) _ A family spent more than four months looking for a relative after he missed a court date, only to discover he had died in jail days before the hearing and had been buried in a pauper’s grave.

Johnny Tuggle Jr. was arrested Aug. 2 on a robbery charge. A sister, Denita Garcia, said she tried to visit him that month in jail but was told he had been released on home monitoring.

After Tuggle failed to appear at an Aug. 23 court hearing, Cook County sheriff’s officers went to relatives’ homes looking for him, the Chicago Sun-Times reported today.

Tuggle’s family said they were unaware of his whereabouts until the sheriff’s office notified them Jan. 10 that he had died Aug. 17. Officials did not immediately explain why they had been unable to locate Tuggle or why it took more four months to notify his family.

His body spent two months in the county morgue before being buried in a pauper’s grave, the sheriff’s office said.

The medical examiner’s office listed the cause of death as bronchial asthma. His mother, Reela Mosley, confirmed her son had asthma.

A spokeswoman for the sheriff’s office said a ``preliminary review of our records does not show that the family was notified.″ She also said Tuggle had been found ineligible for home monitoring.

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