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Autopsy of former NFL player Glenn Foster suggests 'evidence of strangulation,' family says

The former New Orleans Saints defensive end died on Dec. 6 while in the custody of the Pickens County Sheriff’s Office in Alabama.

An independent autopsy into the death of Glenn Foster Jr., the former New Orleans Saints player who died in police custody, suggests there was evidence of strangulation, attorneys for the family said Friday.

The autopsy was conducted by Dr. Michael Baden, the former Chief Medical Examiner of New York City, who determined that Foster "did not die of natural causes," according to a statement posted on the Twitter page of civil rights attorney Benjamin Crump.

Crump, along with lawyers Diandra "Fu" Debrosse Zimmermann and Robert F. "Bobby" DiCello, are representing Foster's family.

Glenn Foster Jr. of the New Orleans Saints in 2015. AP

The former NFL defensive end, 31, died on Dec. 6 while in the custody of the Pickens County Sheriff's Office in Alabama.

"Glenn Foster Jr.'s death, while in the Pickens County Sheriff’s custody and care, was not from natural causes as the independent autopsy suggests there was some evidence of neck compressions and strangulation," the statement read.

The attorneys called the autopsy findings “deeply concerning” and demanded a full and transparent investigation into what happened.

Days before Foster's death he was arrested and booked in the Pickens County Jail on charges of reckless endangerment, attempting to elude police and resisting arrest, inmate records show.

He was released at 3:14 p.m. on Dec. 5 but was rebooked two minutes later on charges of simple assault and third-degree robbery. Authorities have not said what led to Foster being rebooked.

Attorneys for his family said the initial arrest on Dec. 4 stemmed from a speeding violation. He died two days later after being found unresponsive in the back of a police vehicle after arriving at a medical facility, they said.

"Keeping people in your custody alive is literally the lowest bar we can set for a law enforcement agency, and is something that the Pickens County Sheriff’s Office failed to do," their statement from the family attorneys read.

The Foster family is owed "the truth," the attorneys said.

The Pickens County Sheriff's Office and the Alabama State Bureau of Investigation, which is handling the case, did not immediately respond to an NBC News request for comment on Friday.

The sheriff's office had previously referred questions about the matter to the bureau.

The Alabama Law Enforcement Agency, home to the bureau, previously confirmed that Foster was in police custody when he died but did not have further comment.

“Nothing further is available as the investigation is ongoing,” the agency previously said. “Once complete, the findings will be turned over to the Tuscaloosa County District Attorney’s Office.”

Foster joined the New Orleans Saints as an unsigned free agent in 2013, playing with them until 2014.