A Weber County jail inmate died around 4 a.m. Monday, marking the fourth in-custody death in the county in the last three months.
The inmate, who was not immediately identified, appeared to suffer a medical problem. Jail staff rendered aid including CPR, but the person was pronounced dead, according to the Weber County Sheriff’s Office.
An initial investigation by the Weber County attorney’s office indicated the person suffered a medical episode that “was not self-inflicted,” a news release states.
The attorney’s office will continue the investigation, following Weber County “critical incident” protocol.
Three prior in-custody deaths happened on July 21, June 28 and April 29. A deputy found the inmate who died in April unresponsive in their cell, but no further details regarding the cause of death were provided.
The inmate who died in June was being held at a longterm health care facility when they suffered a medical episode. They were taken to a hospital, where they died. The person who died on July 21 was found unresponsive in their cell after suffering a medical episode that was “not self-inflicted,” officials said.
The jail provides a caliber of medical care that inmates often would not be able to receive outside, said Weber County Lt. Joshua Marigoni, a spokesperson for the jail. As of Monday, the four deaths have no clear correlation, but staff is always looking to improve, he said.
“It’s really hard to predict and prevent medical issues that people have,” Marigoni said. “I think it’s important to note that people are put into jail on their worst day. They’re often facing significant health challenges.”
A Weber County jail employee was arrested Thursday on suspicion of distributing opioids to Weber County inmates. The staffer, Jennica Massie, was charged Friday with distributing a controlled substance at a correctional facility, a first-degree felony.
Authorities believe Massie was “instrumental” in distributing the drugs since April. However, it’s unclear whether the series of deaths at the jail have been related to drug use, Marigoni said.
Massie was booked into Box Elder County jail after her arrest and placed on administrative leave pending the outcome of the criminal and a separate internal investigation.
As a precaution, three other employees who worked with Massie were also placed on administrative leave, according to the Weber County Sheriff’s Office. Anyone determined to have been involved in bringing drugs into the facility will face criminal charges, officials said.