Local Man Back in Cell in Mexico

TIMES STAFF WRITER

An 81-year-old Oxnard man with prostate cancer who was arrested by Mexican authorities after allegedly buying a large amount of sedatives was moved from a Tijuana prison to a hospital Thursday.

George Murl, who has refused to eat, was moved about 1:30 p.m. from La Mesa State Penitentiary to Tijuana General Hospital, according to Jose Angel Naranjo, chief of medical services at the prison.

But Murl was moved back to the penitentiary less than two hours later after he refused pain medication and an intravenous needle, said Dave Walden, a San Diego pastor who has visited him in prison.

Murl's family in Oxnard, including a niece and his ex-wife, plan to drive to Tijuana on Saturday to visit him and meet with officials at the U.S. Consulate in Tijuana.

"We're going to try and find out what George is thinking, why he isn't cooperating, why he isn't getting help to get into a hospital," said Murl's niece, Sheila Schlichter.

Murl was arrested May 24 in Tijuana after allegedly purchasing 600 tablets of the sedative Ribotril, which is similar to Valium, without a prescription.

Thursday, he dismissed the public defender who had taken his case and contracted a private attorney, said Cecilia Ortiz, a spokeswoman for the Tijuana public defender's office.

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