AUGUSTA, Maine — A woman charged with murder in connection with a November homicide who died Wednesday was not on suicide watch while she was being held at the Kennebec County Jail, the sheriff said late Thursday.
Zina Fritze, 27, of Augusta was found hanging by a bedsheet in her jail cell by correction officers about 2 p.m. at the Kennebec County Jail in Augusta. She died in an ambulance en route to MaineGeneral Hospital in Augusta.
Ryan Reardon, interim sheriff for Kennebec County, said Fritze was “under observation” and being checked every 15 minutes because she had made statements to a mental health worker that caused jail personnel “to be concerned for her well-being.”
Under that protocol, Fritze was issued “regular facility bedding and clothing,” Reardon said.
If she had been on suicide watch, Fritze would have been issued a paper gown and paper bedding.
Fritze’s body was taken to the state medical examiner’s office for autopsy, the sheriff said. The results of the autopsy were not released Friday.
As is standard with all deaths in Maine jails, state police and the Maine attorney general’s office will investigate, Reardon said. Detectives arrived at the jail shortly after the Kennebec County Sheriff’s Office reported the incident.
Fritze and her boyfriend, Michael Sean McQuade, 45, were indicted last week by a Kennebec County grand jury on charges of intentional or knowing or depraved indifference murder, felony murder and robbery.
They pleaded not guilty Tuesday at the Capital Judicial Center in Augusta.
Another man, Damik Davis, 25, of Queens, New York, was arrested and charged with murder the day Joseph Marceau’s body was found. Davis remains in Kennebec County Jail.
The body of Marceau, of 23 Winthrop St., Augusta, was found Nov. 23, 2015, in a fourth-floor apartment rented by Fritze and McQuade at 75 State St. in Augusta.
Police called the death a drug-related homicide, but Assistant Attorney General John Alsop, who is prosecuting the case, said after the arraignment that the felony murder charge results from the allegation of robbery and that neither Fritze nor McQuade were charged with any drug-related crimes.
Immediately after Davis’ arrest, police began searching for Fritze and McQuade. They were found, questioned and released by police two days after the homicide.
However, they were arrested by Augusta police Jan. 26, the day the grand jury handed up the murder indictments, on unrelated charges and had been held in jail since then.
BDN writers Beth Brogan and Dawn Gagnon contributed to this report.