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Another inmate dies at SLO County Jail; death under investigation

Twelve inmates have died at the San Luis Obispo County Jail since 2012, including three this year.
Twelve inmates have died at the San Luis Obispo County Jail since 2012, including three this year. jjohnston@thetribunenews.com

The San Luis Obispo County Sheriff’s Office was investigating the death of a 62-year-old male inmate at County Jail on Monday.

According to a news release, a correctional deputy conducting cell inspections spoke to the man around 3 p.m., and he said he was not feeling well. The deputy immediately called for medical staff, who were located around the corner, arrived and spoke to the inmate, who was alert and conscious at the time, according to the release.

The inmate was talking with medical staff as he was being wheeled to the medical unit when he suddenly lost consciousness, according to the release. Medical and correctional staff began lifesaving measures including CPR and the use of an automatic electronic defibrillator. Cal Fire and paramedics took over the lifesaving measures but were unable to revive the man.

The Sheriff’s Office has initiated an investigation. Release of the inmate’s name is pending notification of next of kin. No foul play is suspected, according to the release.

This is the 12th County Jail inmate to die in custody since 2012, and the third to die this year.

The FBI launched an investigation into the facility earlier this year to determine whether civil rights violations played a role in the series of inmate deaths.

Laura Eimiller, spokeswoman for the FBI’s Los Angeles Field Office, told The Tribune in August that the investigation began after Sheriff Ian Parkinson said in April that he welcomed other agencies’ oversight following the death of inmate Kevin Lee McLaughlin, who died of a heart attack shortly after asking to go to the hospital.

That death came only three months after the Jan. 22 death of inmate Andrew Holland, who was restrained in a plastic chair for nearly two days before he was found unresponsive in a cell, drawing outrage from the inmate’s family and county residents.

County officials have said the jail is overburdened by inmates with medical issues and mental health needs, and it lacks oversight in ensuring the well-being of its inmates.

Jail officials have reviewed and changed several of their policies for dealing with medically or mentally ill inmates since Holland’s death, including restricting the amount of time inmates can be held in safety cells, banning the use of restraint chairs, increasing observation of medically and mentally ill inmates and increasing training for deputies and medical and mental health staff at the jail.

Kaytlyn Leslie: 805-781-7928, @kaytyleslie

In-custody deaths at the SLO County Jail, 2012-17

The following people died while in custody of the San Luis Obispo County Sheriff’s Office since January 2012.

  • Jan. 5, 2012: Kevin Lee Strahl, 53. Cause: Hepatic failure, liver fatty change
  • Nov. 12, 2012: Joseph Morillo, 43. Cause: Cardiac arrest due to thickening of heart muscle and morbid obesity
  • Jan. 27, 2014: Rudy Silva. Died in hospital care. Cause: Acute hypoxic respiratory failure, septic shock, Influenza A and Staphylococcus Aureus Bacteremia
  • March 12, 2014: Josey Richard Meche, 28. Cause: Cardiac dysrhythmia with acute methamphetamine toxicity
  • May 30, 2014: Timothy Richard Jancowicz, 29. Cause: Respiratory arrest due to heroin toxicity
  • Jan. 11, 2015: David Thomas Osborn Sr., 63, Cause: Acute myocardial infarction, Atherosclerotic coronary artery disease, hyperglycemia
  • March 24, 2015: Sean Michael Alexander, 33. Cause: Microscopic encephalitis, marked pulmonary edema
  • Sept. 20, 2016: Jordan Benjamin Turner, 36. Cause: Suicide with razor blade
  • July 16, 2016: Nicole Honait Luxor, 62. Died in hospital care. Cause: Complications from gallbladder cancer
  • Jan. 22, 2017: Andrew Chaylon Holland, 36. Intrapulmonary embolism
  • April 13, 2017: Kevin Lee McLaughlin, 60. Cause: Cardiac arrhythmia due to acute chronic ischemic heart disease
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