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Cause of death is pending autopsy; homicide detectives investigating

The Baltimore Sun
CENTREVILLE, Md. -Maryland State Police are trying to determine today how an apparently homeless man authorities said they were trying to help died in police custody yesterday after repeated encounters with law enforcement on the Eastern Shore near Centreville.
Raymond H. Bartles Jr., 43, whose last known address was in Virginia, was pronounced dead at Easton Memorial Hospital shortly after he was handcuffed and his body went limp on Route 312, north of Ridgely, according to state police.
Police said they contacted Bartles' sister in Western Maryland who told them her brother had been a transient carnival worker who wandered around the country and had been hospitalized in Florida "for an extended period of time due to multiple medical conditions."
Authorities said their first encounter with Bartles occurred about 7:50 a.m. when deputies from the Queen Anne's County Sheriff's Office were called to a truck stop on Route 304 in Centreville. People reported Bartles was acting strangely, but police said "they observed no criminal actions and cleared the scene."
A short time later, troopers from the state police Centreville Barracks were summoned to the 700 block of Ruthsburg Road, near the truck stop, for a complaint that Bartles had trespassed on private property. He was arrested and charged with trespassing, but police said a District Court commissioner "refused to hold Bartles on a temporary commitment and released him" about 11:30 a.m.
About noon, police said a Natural Resources Police officer found Bartles at routes 213 and 301, wandering in and out of traffic. A Maryland State Police trooper arrived and, according to police, Bartles told him he was trying to walk to Easton. The trooper drove him to the Caroline County line on Route 309 "where he could then walk legally and more safely to Easton," state police said in a statement. "He did not detect any type of medical distress being experienced by Bartles at that time."
About 1 p.m., police said Bartles tried to get inside a patrol car belonging to a police corporal with the Natural Resources Police on Route 312. Caroline County sheriff deputies responded. Police said Bartles lay down on the road and then was handcuffed
Police said the officers made arrangements to get the man evaluated at a hospital, and "when the two officers tried to assist Bartles off the ground, his body went limp." He died shortly after arriving at the hospital.
"There was no reported physical altercation on the scene with Bartles," state police said. "Bartles had no visible signs of trauma on his body. He is reported to have made no complaints to the officers of any medical distress, nor show any signs of distress prior to going limp."
Homicide detectives with the Maryland State Police are investigating, and a cause of death is pending an autopsy at the office of the state medical examiner in Baltimore.

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