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Coroner releases cause of death of Tippecanoe County jail inmates who died on same day

Isaiah Powe, 42, and Bonny Ahlrich, 56, were found unresponsive in their cells on Saturday Jan. 12.

Posted: Feb 26, 2019 10:42 AM
Updated: Feb 26, 2019 1:20 PM

LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) —Tippecanoe County Coroner Donna Avolt has released the cause of death for two jail inmates who died on the same day in early January. Isaiah Powe, 42, and Bonny Ahlrich, 56, were found unresponsive in their cells on Saturday Jan. 12. There was also a third incident that same morning.

The cause of death for Powe was Acute Mixed Drug Intoxication, according to Avolt. He tested positive for methamphetamine, codeine, morphine, hydrocodone and marijuana, Avolt said.

The cause of death for Ahlrich was severe acute pneumonia of the left lung empyema contributed by chronic obstructive pulminary disease (COPD) and hypertensive cardiac change. 

Sheriff Bob Goldsmith asked Indiana State Police to do a peer review investigation.

As we previously reported, Powe, who was homeless, was found unresponsive in his jail cell mid-morning on the 12th, Sheriff Bob Goldsmith said. He died at the hospital. Ahlrich, also homeless, died in her cell in the holding area of the jail later in the day.

Powe was in jail for criminal confinement and was charged with unlawful possession of a firearm by a serious violent felon. Goldsmith said he was booked on Jan. 12 at 2:54 a.m., the same day he died. 

In February of 2018, an arrest warrant was issued for him for unlawful possession of a firearm by a serious violent felon, felon in possession of a handgun with a previous felony conviction, criminal recklessness with a deadly weapon, carrying a handgun without a license, criminal trespass with a prior conviction, and criminal trespass.

Ahlrich was booked on Jan. 4. According to Lafayette police records, she was arrested after being wanted on a warrant for failure to appear. She was arrested in the 600 block of Tippecanoe Street.

Goldsmith said she was found in the afternoon by medical staff during a routine check. At the time, Goldsmith was unsure if she was on medication, or why the staff checked on her.

Goldsmith said the man who was sent to the hospital the same day the others died had taken meth before he was arrested. He was being booked for public intoxication. As we reported, a judge has since released him from the hospital on his own recognizance. Goldsmith said he could not yet release the man's name to the public.

This story will be updated.

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