County Jail inmate dies, bringing total to three deaths in four months

An inmate died Friday in San Luis Obispo County Jail — the third inmate death in four months — and officials do not yet know the cause.

Timothy Richard Janowicz, 29, was found unresponsive in his bunk bed about 5:40 a.m. by other inmates in his cell, according to the Sheriff’s Office. Medical staff and deputies responded and determined that Janowicz was dead.

No cause of death was immediately evident. Janowicz had been in the County Jail since November, department spokesman Tony Cipolla said.

The coroner and detectives are investigating the death and an autopsy report is expected in four to six weeks, Cipolla said.

The jail was put on lockdown after Janowicz was discovered. A temporary lockdown is typically imposed and inmates confined to their cells while investigators are in the area, sheriff’s Cmdr. Aaron Nix said.

Janowicz was the third inmate to die since January.

On Jan. 27, inmate Rudy Joseph Silva, 35, died four days after being hospitalized for the H1N1 flu virus. Silva, whom authorities said had a history of medical issues, had been in the jail since October.

On March 12, Josey Meche, 28, died at Sierra Vista Regional Medical Center after he was found unresponsive in a holding cell a little more than two hours after being booked on suspicion of resisting arrest. Police said officers used a “control hold” to subdue Meche while taking him into custody.

An autopsy by the sheriff’s Coroner’s Office determined that Meche died of a methamphetamine-induced heart attack.

When an inmate dies in custody, the Sheriff's Office is required to notify the District Attorney’s Office and the California Department of Justice within 10 days. The Sheriff's Office conducts an investigation, and if wrongdoing is suspected, the case is turned over to the DA’s Office or the FBI.