A person walks out of the Snohomish County Corrections building on Wednesday, Jan. 3, 2024 in Everett, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)

A person walks out of the Snohomish County Corrections building on Wednesday, Jan. 3, 2024 in Everett, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)

Snohomish County Jail review finds no fault in Florida inmate’s death

David Koeppen, 38, was the third inmate in two months to die in the jail. He was being held on murder charges.

EVERETT — An inquiry released this month by the Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office found no fault in the jail overdose of a Florida man held on local murder charges.

The review gives a fuller picture of the circumstances leading to the death of David Koeppen in the downtown Everett jail in October and also makes recommendations to help avoid future deaths. He was one of four inmates to die between September and January.

The review recommended using a biosensor monitoring technology called “Custody Protec” on inmates. The 4SightLabs technology is a sensor attached to an inmate’s wrist or ankle to monitor vitals. The sheriff’s office has been in talks with 4SightLabs to acquire the technology.

Sheriff’s office spokesperson Courtney O’Keefe said the technology is costly, but the sheriff’s office was looking into using it in the jail’s medical housing units.

The inquiry also recommended random cell searches, as well as a police dog to detect drugs brought into the jail. The jail planned to use Harley, a police dog from the Mountlake Terrace Police Department, to assist with the searches, O’Keefe said. The sheriff’s office was working to find a handler for the dog.

Sheriff Susanna Johnson has said the jail is also installing cameras within the medical detox unit, as part of a $3.1 million project approved under former Sheriff Adam Fortney.

“There’s only so many more ways to try to be creative,” Johnson said last month.

Initially, David Koeppen was booked into the Snohomish County Jail in February 2023 for investigation of three counts of unlawful firearm possession. During booking, he tested positive for methamphetamine and cocaine. Jail staff searched him, and did not find any drugs, according to the review. Corrections staff also used a body scanner to scan Koeppen.

In jail, detectives questioned Koeppen about his involvement in a fatal shooting at a motorhome in Granite Falls. Koeppen and Dillon Thomas, of Lynnwood, reportedly broke into an RV and found Austin Hoerner in bed. Koeppen allegedly shot Hoerner to death.

Koeppen denied involvement. After a month-long investigation, prosecutors charged Koeppen with first-degree murder. He remained in jail for months with bail set at $2 million.

Around 11 a.m. on Oct. 25, Koeppen did not come out of his cell for lunch, according to the sheriff’s office. Koeppen was in a general population housing cell.

Corrections staff found Koeppen, 38, unresponsive in his cell. An officer called a medical emergency and began lifesaving measures, according to the report.

Jail staff, medical staff and Everett firefighters all assisted, according to the review. Responders gave five doses of Narcan to Koeppen.

After about 40 minutes, Koeppen was pronounced dead in his cell.

The Snohomish County Medical Examiner’s Office determined Koeppen died of acute fentanyl intoxication. The medical examiner’s office determined the death was an accident.

Under state law, the authority with primary responsibility must conduct a review of unexpected jail deaths and include an analysis of the root cause and recommendations to prevent them going forward.

The findings must be submitted to the state Department of Health within 120 days. Published Feb. 15, the sheriff’s office’s report came 113 days after David Koeppen’s death.

Since 2005, at least 27 people have died in the Snohomish County Jail.

Of the four who died late last year, three were in the facility’s medical detox unit, intended to monitor inmates with addictions to opiates, benzodiazepines or alcohol. Only Koeppen was not in a detox cell.

Jonathan Tall: 425-339-3486; jonathan.tall@heraldnet.com; Twitter: @snocojon.

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