Inmate found dead

Published 12:00 am Thursday, April 22, 2010

A Florala man was found dead inside his Covington County Jail cell Wednesday.

Sheriff Dennis Meeks said emergency personnel were dispatched to the Hillcrest Drive facility around 4 p.m. for an “inmate death,” where, shortly thereafter, Covington County coroner Norman Hobson pronounced Robert Gene Yingst, 40, dead.

The Alabama Bureau of Investigation responded to the scene shortly after 5:30 p.m. to assume charge of the investigation, Meeks said.

Meeks declined to comment on a cause of death or any other details surrounding it.

Monday, Yingst was arrested on charges of kidnapping and harassment by the Florala Police Department after his wife alleged he had held the family against their will for more than 14 hours and threatened to kill her and then himself last Thursday.

Reports indicate there were an additional three counts of second-degree kidnapping from the incident and one count of second-degree sexual abuse, which was unrelated to the most recent events, pending against Yingst, and that he was currently on probation for a second-degree murder conviction in Oklahoma.

No other details were available when The Star-News went to press.