Inmate dies on Thanksgiving in Santa Barbara County Jail
November 27, 2015
An inmate died Thursday morning after collapsing in Santa Barbara County Jail. The Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office reported that the 49-year-old inmate appeared to have died of natural causes.
At about 9:30 a.m., Johnny DeWitt collapsed and became unresponsive. He was housed in the medical dorm of the county’s main jail at the time, according to a sheriff’s office news release.
Jail personnel responded, initiated lifesaving efforts and called for medics, the press release states. The medics then took over the efforts to resuscitate DeWitt.
Emergency responders transported DeWitt to Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital where octors pronounced him dead at approximately 10:27 a.m.
After DeWitt died, the coroner’s unit responded to the hospital and began an investigation.
The coroner’s unit will conduct an autopsy and release the official cause of death when the investigation is complete. Autopsy and toxicology results are expected to take several weeks to be ready.
DeWitt had been in sheriff’s custody since Sept. 28 when he was booked on charges including criminal threats, unlawful possession of ammunition and drug possession.
In San Luis Obispo County, five inmates have died in jail over the last two years. CalCoastNews previously reported the inmate death rate at San Luis Obispo County’s men’s jail is more than three times the national average.