Inmate under medical watch dies in Snohomish County Jail

EVERETT — A 42-year-old Tulalip woman died suddenly in the Snohomish County Jail on Thursday, the sheriff’s office said.

The woman had been booked on Wednesday for investigation of fourth-degree domestic violence assault and was found unresponsive at about 2 p.m. Thursday in the jail’s medical unit, sheriff’s office spokeswoman Shari Ireton said in a news release. Efforts to revive the woman failed.

The jail has been under scrutiny after a series of inmate deaths in recent years. Those cases led to a federal review of operations and claims against the county alleging poor medical care.

County officials have been working to improve medical care, increase staffing and reduce the inmate population. A full-time doctor was recently hired and Sheriff Ty Trenary has asked the Snohomish County Council for an additional 29 staff positions at the jail, most of them for registered nurses.

Several of the inmate deaths over the past few years involved drugs, alcohol and withdrawal symptoms as factors.

“The inmate had been medically screened at booking, placed on a drug and alcohol withdrawal watch and admitted into the medical unit,” Ireton said. “She was routinely checked every half hour by medical unit personnel.

“Her death is being investigated by detectives with the Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office Major Crimes Unit. A review of the death from a clinical standpoint will also be conducted, independent of the death investigation,” the sheriff’s spokeswoman said.

The woman’s identity is to be released by the Snohomish County Medical Examiner’s Office.

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