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Nevada prison board discusses inmate autopsies

CARSON CITY — The director of the Nevada Department of Corrections says his agency supports a new law requiring an autopsy be conducted on inmates who die in custody.

But Director Greg Cox and legal staff told the Board of Prison Commissioners on Tuesday that there is some question whether the law passed by the 2013 Legislature requires an autopsy on all inmates who die behind bars, or whether it gives prison officials discretion.

The issue has come to light following a story in the Las Vegas Sun about inmate Richard Ferst, who died in prison in October. Ferst was one of four inmates who died that month while in state custody. Ferst’s family says his body remains at a mortuary.

Cox and a deputy attorney general wouldn’t discuss details, citing possible litigation.

This is a developing story. Check later for updates.

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