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Two deaths at Lake Co. jail just 12 hours apart

Posted: 10:37 AM, Dec 22, 2015
Updated: 2015-12-22 10:37:34-05

The Lake County Sheriff's Office is investigating the deaths of two inmates within a 24-hour time period. 

According to officials, a 25-year-old male inmate was found unresponsive on the floor of his cell around 5:25 p.m. Monday by a corrections officer. Responding officers began CPR until paramedics arrived. The man was transported to the emergency room at TriPoint Medical Center where he was pronounced dead.

The Lake County Coroner examined the inmate and sent the body to the Cuyahoga County Medical Examiner's Officer for an autopsy. The cause of death is unknown at this time but authorities say no foul play is suspected.

Just 12 hours later, female inmates contacted corrections officers around 5:30 a.m. Tuesday, reporting that one inmate was in her bed unresponsive. Responding officers determined that the 25-year-old woman had died in her sleep. While investigating her death, corrections officers also found another woman in the same housing area in her bed, unresponsive. Suspecting that opiates were involved, they administered Naloxone—also known as Narcan—the drug used to reverse the effects of an overdose. 

Painesville paramedics responded and the 30-year-old woman regained consciousness. She was transported to TriPoint Hospital for treatment. 

The Lake County Coroner responded and pronounced the 25-year-old woman dead. Her body is being transported to the Cuyahoga County Medical Examiner's Office for examination.

Authorities say initial investigation suggests that a woman who was released from jail on a medical furlough Monday returned to jail with some form of an opioid, possibly heroin, hidden in a body cavity. 

Officials believe she then gave the opiods to the two female inmates, who then overdosed. 

According to the sheriff's office, the women may have taken the drugs before lockdown at 11 p.m. From 11 p.m. until 5:30 a.m. the inmates are locked in their cells. Officers still make rounds every 30 minutes but they do not wake up the inmates. 

Cells do have intercom systems to alert officers if inmates are in distress but neither inmate made a call before they were found, authorities say. 

The investigation is ongoing.