Guards to walk free after locking inmate in boiling hot shower for two hours

The death of an inmate was met with outrage and conflicting stories from prison staff and local media after prison guards allegedly locked an inmate into a scalding hot shower and left him there for two hours, ultimately leading to his death.

"I can't take it anymore," one of the other inmates at Dade Correctional Institution later said the 50-year-old man with schizophrenia, Darren Rainey, could be heard yelling.

After two hours in the shower, Rainey was found dead on his back laying in a pool of hot water with pieces of his skin that had peeled off and floated around him, the Miami Herald reported.

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His death prompted an investigation by the local paper, which reported that four officers at Dade Correctional -- Sergeant John Fan Fan, and officers Cornelius Thompson, Ronald Clarke and Edwina Williams -- had performed the act before with other inmates as a means of punishment.

But after a two-year investigation by law enforcement, the four guards involved in the incident were found not guilty of any wrongdoing due to lack of evidence, which came amid Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle's release of a 101-page report that called Rainey's death an "accident."

"The evidence fails to show that any correctional officer acted in reckless disregard of Rainey's life," prosecutors stated in the report.

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Prosecutors concluded that Rainey died from health complications stemming from his mental disorder, heart disease that had gone undiagnosed and what they described as "confinement in a shower."

They attributed his skin peeling in the shower to a condition called "slippage" -- which they say could have possibly occurred when he was being moved from the shower floor due to friction or pressure placed on his body, not the reported high temperature of the shower that was said to have reached up to 180 degrees.

However, according to the release, Medical Examiner Emma Lew said the inmate hadn't suffered injury from any burns.

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"It is not substantiated that the temperatures inside the shower room were excessively high," she wrote.

Milton Grimes, an attorney defending the Rainey family, said they were "disappointed and heartbroken" with the report in a statement with the Associated Press.

"This is not justice for Darren, for his family, nor for the mentally ill who have been subject to similar abuse and mistreatment," Grimes said.

Rainey's family filed a motion in federal court against the Florida Department of Corrections in 2016. The case's status remains to be pending at the time of this report.