LINCOLN – A Nebraska prison inmate who strangled his former girlfriend and dumped her body in a grave at an Omaha cemetery has been hospitalized after he was repeatedly stabbed by another inmate, relatives say.
Mikael Loyd was stabbed 20 times Sunday during an assault at the Lincoln Correctional Center, said his grandmother Deidra Loyd of Omaha. One wound to the neck caused massive blood loss and was nearly fatal, she added.
The 23-year-old inmate underwent surgeries, the grandmother said, adding that he remained under care Wednesday at a Lincoln hospital.
Prison officials confirmed there was “an altercation between two inmates” Sunday at the center, but would not identify either inmate involved. The Nebraska State Patrol is leading a criminal investigation of the incident, said Dawn-Renee Smith, spokeswoman for the Nebraska Department of Correctional Services.
“A homemade weapon was used and one inmate suffered injuries requiring hospitalization,” she said in an email, adding that details of the inmate’s injuries and his current medical condition are not public record.
Deidra Loyd said she is upset not only about the assault, but that prison officials failed to notify her about it. She learned her grandson was in the hospital Tuesday from one his friends. She said she then made a call to prison authorities, who confirmed it.
“He could have been dead, and the (prison) did not follow protocol. No one contacted the family,” Deidra Loyd said.
Smith said prison staff failed to notify the emergency contact listed for one of the inmates, which is considered standard policy when an inmate needs more than routine medical care. The process is being reviewed to ensure proper notification occurs in the future, she added.
The grandmother said the prison officials she spoke to said her grandson’s assailant used a homemade knife called a shank. She does not know the identity of the inmate who carried out the assault, she said.
Mikael Loyd is serving a term of 30 to 35 years for second-degree murder in the death of Melissa K. Rodriguez, 19. He strangled her Aug. 14, 2013, hours after walking away from an Omaha mental health treatment center where he was being treated for mental illness. The woman’s body was found in a newly dug grave at Graceland Park Cemetery.
Mikael Loyd, who was diagnosed with a mental illness at age 13, had originally been charged with first-degree murder and was initially determined to be incompetent to stand trial. But after treatment he was declared competent as long as he stayed on his medication.
He agreed to enter a no-contest plea to a second-degree murder. Later attempts by prosecutors to appeal the sentence as too lenient were unsuccessful.
Deidra Loyd said her grandson has been attacked more than once since he arrived in prison in April 2015.
Prison records show an additional four to five years were added to his sentence after he was convicted of assaulting a fellow inmate on May 21, 2015. The same records indicate he will be eligible for parole in 2030.