NESPELEM The aunt of a man who died Sept. 24 in the Colville Tribal Corrections Center said the family doesn’t believe he killed himself, as tribal police have said.
Aaron J. Swan, 34, was found dead in a cleaning closet, tribal police Chief Cory J. Orr said.
The Inchelium resident apparently hanged himself with a bed sheet.
Inchelium resident Yvonne Swan said she understands her great-nephew may have been choked by a wire. The family is launching its own investigation into his death.
“We don’t believe it was suicide,” she said.
Orr said tribal police responded to the corrections center at 10 p.m. and found Swan dead. He had been in the facility for two days on suspicion of rape and indecent liberties.
Orr said the FBI and Bureau of Indian Affairs’ district office were notified.
“The investigation is active and no other details are being released at this time,” he said.
Yvonne Swan said the family learned of Aaron Swan’s death through a Facebook post made early the next morning by Colville Business Council Chairman Michael Finley.
“We spoke out against that,” she said.
The post offering prayers to the Swan family sent family members out trying to find Aaron Swan’s two daughters before they checked Facebook, Yvonne Swan said.
Finley did not respond to Chronicle requests for comment on Swan’s death.
Yvonne Swan described her great-nephew — the son of her niece, Lisa Swan of Inchelium — as a loving person who was helpful, respectful of his elders and who loved children.
Funeral services for him were Sept. 28.
Aaron Swan’s death was the second at the tribal jail.
Denver L. Buckman, 34, was found dead in his cell Nov. 21, 2007.
He lived on the reservation at Keller, but was a member of the Chippewa Cree Tribe from Montana.
At the time, tribal police said Buckman may have been depressed.