HILLSBORO, Ore. — A man has become the third person to die while in Washington County jail custody in the past two months, prompting the Washington County sheriff to call for an independent investigation.
The Washington County Sheriff’s Office said the death Wednesday in Hillsboro’s Washington County Jail involved a 51-year-old man who arrived at 7 a.m., The Oregonian/OregonLive reported.
Deputies noticed the man wasn’t breathing shortly after 9:30 p.m. while he sat in a holding area waiting to be booked into the jail, according to the sheriff’s office. Efforts to revive him were unsuccessful, the sheriff’s office said.
In a statement Thursday, Sheriff Pat Garrett called the three deaths “unprecedented” and said he was arranging to have an outside agency conduct an independent investigation.
"This is unprecedented for our jail. 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," Garrett's statement said.
On April 17, a deputy found Bryce Bybee, 22, unresponsive in his bed and he could not be revived, authorities said.
Crystal Leuenberger, 35, died May 24 inside the jail. Leuenberger had arrived less than 24 hours earlier, the sheriff’s office said.
Sgt. Daniel DiPietro said he couldn't answer questions about what led up to Leuenberger’s death, citing an open investigation.
The state medical examiner’s office conducted autopsies but has not issued a cause of death in all three cases, DiPietro said. He said the state medical examiner’s office typically waits for toxicology results, which can take several months.