Two Rikers Island inmates dead in 2 days while in DOC custody

RIKERS ISLAND -- Two inmates from Rikers Island have died in as many days while in Department of Corrections custody.

After being on the island for only a week at the Eric M. Taylor Center, 49-year-old George Pagan was transported to Elmhurst hospital on March 17, according to the DOC.

He was pronounced dead that morning. His cause of death is under investigation by the Medical Examiner.

Another unnamed individual who was in custody at the same center on Rikers Island died one day later at a clinic on site, according to the DOC.

This person was on the island for less than a month. Their cause of death is also pending investigation from the Medical Examiner.

"Every person matters and every death is tragic," said Department of Corrections Commissioner Louis Molina. "We are particularly mindful of this today after suffering another terrible loss yesterday. We are heartbroken for this person's family and loved ones and working with our sister agencies on full investigations into both losses."

This is the third death under DOC custody on Rikers Island.

Sixteen people died under DOC custody in 2021, that's more than the previous two years combined.

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