News, Washington County, Washington County Sheriff's Office

Third person in two months dies at Washington County Jail

The Washington County Sheriff’s Office disclosed Thursday evening that a 51-year-old man had died Wednesday evening at the Washington County Jail.

According to the sheriff’s office, the man, who was not named, died around 9:36 p.m. Wednesday, June 1 in the holding area at the jail, located in Hillsboro. He had been in the jail since just after 7 a.m. that day.

Deputies were still in the process of trying to contact the deceased man’s next of kin as of Thursday evening. 

“While waiting to complete the booking process, deputies noticed the man was not breathing while seated in the holding area,” the sheriff’s office said.

The official narrative stated that deputies immediately attempted life-saving measures, followed by efforts from paramedics arriving on the scene shortly after that, but neither were successful. The death is being investigated by the The Washington County Major Crimes Team.

Wednesday’s death is the third in two months at the jail; all three people who have died were adults taken into custody by the sheriff’s office. Two of them died within 24 hours of being transported to the jail. 

The sheriff’s office said that Bryce Bybee died April 17 and Crystal Leuenberger died May 24

“This is unprecedented for our Jail,” Washington County Sheriff Pat Garrett said in a statement. “As I continue my commitment to transparency and improvement, I will arrange an outside entity to conduct an additional review separate from the MCT investigation.” 

An autopsy was conducted earlier today by the Oregon State Medical Examiner’s Office, who plan to issue a cause of death. 

The sheriff’s office noted that Birmingham Alabama-based NaphCare began a contract to provide health care at the jail June 1 after being awarded the contract earlier in 2022. Prior to that, Correction Health Partners provided health care for two years. 

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Chas Hundley is the editor of the Banks Post and sister news publications the Gales Creek Journal and the Salmonberry Magazine. He grew up in Gales Creek and has a cat.

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