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Tippecanoe Co. Jail sees two deaths and a medical incident in one day

The Tippecanoe County Sheriff's Office is investigating two inmate deaths that happened on the same day. Now, we are learning a third inmate was sent to the hospital for a medical emergency that morning.

Posted: Jan 14, 2019 6:34 PM

LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) -- We're learning more about the two Tippecanoe County inmates who died on Saturday. The sheriff said there was a third incident that same morning.

"I don't know that this has ever happened, it's very unfortunate," said Tippecanoe County Sheriff Bob Goldsmith. "Sorry for the families of these two that have passed away."

Isaiah Powe, 42, and Bonny Ahlrich, 56, both died Saturday. Goldsmith said he doesn't suspect foul play or drugs to be a factor in the deaths. However, they're still investigating.

"Talking with inmates, we had the person on Facebook post that they were back there," said Goldsmith. "We are trying to do our best to track that person down and see if they would be willing to give a statement."

Amiee McPeake commented on WLFI's story accusing the jail of ignoring reports of Ahlrich not being able to breathe. She claims she was there at the time however, she has yet to respond to our requests for comment.

Here is what her comment said on Facebook, "Bonnie could have been okay if the guards had not disregarded reports of her not being able to breathe through the previous night, and when she passed out in the break room at 8 AM. They accused her of attention seeking and put her back in the cell. 5 hours later she was dead. Totally preventable death. Family should sue, and contact me when you do. I was there.”

"I think they're looking at video and such just to make sure," added Goldsmith. But to his knowledge, the jail staff responded well. "They were very professional with these two events, everybody came to work and did their job."

Goldsmith also thanked surrounding agency K-9 units for their help searching the jail for drugs.

"We didn't think narcotics were involved, we didn't have any reason to believe that but just to eliminate that and make sure that we didn't have narcotics in our jail that's what we did," said Goldsmith. 

We won't know cause of death until toxicology results in 4-6 weeks. However, Goldsmith said it's not unusual to have sick people in the jail.

"They don't have the best eating habits, exercising habits, anything, a lot of them are suffering from using drugs, alcohol," said Goldsmith. 

Goldsmith said the man who was sent to the hospital Saturday said he had taken meth before he was arrested. He was being booked for public intoxication. 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.

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