ISP review finds no fault with jail staff's actions following death of three inmates

Tippecanoe County Sheriff Bob Goldsmith said a state police review of the jail's response to multiple inmate deaths covered not two, but three emergencies on the same day.

Posted: Feb 26, 2019 11:35 PM
Updated: Feb 27, 2019 3:47 PM

TIPPECANOE COUNTY, Ind. (WLFI) — Tippecanoe County Sheriff Bob Goldsmith said a state police review of the jail's response to multiple inmate deaths covered not two, but three emergencies on the same day. That report found no fault with the jail staff's actions that day.

As News 18 reported Tuesday, the coroner's office released the cause of death for two inmates who both died on January 12. At the time, we also reported a third inmate was taken to the hospital that day.

Goldsmith confirmed that inmate also died.

Autopsy results for the third inmate are not complete, and investigators haven't released a name. As for the other two inmates, Isaiah Powe died from Acute Mixed Drug Intoxication that included methamphetamine, codeine, morphine, hydrocodone and marijuana.

The second Bonnie Ahlrich, had severe acute pneumonia of the left lung empyema, according to coroner Donna Avolt.

"We were just trying to uncover everything we possibly could and make sure there was no stone unturned," said Goldsmith. 

The three incidents were unrelated but Sheriff Bob Goldsmith said he had to be sure there was no connection.

"We reached out to all the local agencies because we didn't know exactly what was going, we wanted to make sure we didn't have drugs in our facility. We swept this entire facility with the help of all the surrounding agencies and community corrections."

Goldsmith said while he believes his staff is doing a good job, education will be a big focus going forward.

"Can we all get better at certain things? Absolutely. I'm not immune from that I'm going to make mistakes too and I need to learn from those and I would ask the entire team to do the same thing."

Goldsmith said when an inmate is brought to the jail standard procedure is to give them a medical screening, but they can't be forced to comply.

In the meantime, if staff notices the person acting out, Goldsmith said they are usually sent to a doctor to be cleared before being brought to the jail.

We plan to follow up on the cause of death for the third person and will update this story. 

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