Benton County inmate found unconscious, dies

Tri-City HeraldMarch 13, 2013 

— An inmate at the Benton County jail died Wednesday after jail staff found her unconscious during a security check.

The Benton County Sheriff’s Office said the 58-year-old woman, whose name was not released, is believed to have died from natural causes.

Jail employees and medical personnel performed CPR before a doctor pronounced her dead, the sheriff’s office said in a news release.

The woman had a history of drug use and based on that history, they believe she died of “natural causes,” said the release. The woman was in jail for violating the conditions of her release from the Washington State Department of Corrections.

An autopsy is planned Friday.

Sheriff Steve Keane requested the Special Investigative Unit conduct a independent investigation of the woman’s death to avoid any conflict of interest.

The last inmate to die in the jail, Kevin Culp, died Dec. 25, more than a week after he was shocked with a Taser after police say he become combative with nurses and a corrections officer as they tried to help him.

Benton County Coroner John Hansens ruled that the autopsy found that Culp’s death was not caused by the Taser shock.

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