A 63-year-old man who was arrested by Seattle police early Tuesday and booked into the King County Jail was found unresponsive in a holding cell and died soon after he was taken to Harborview Medical Center, according to the King County Department of Adult & Juvenile Detention.

The man is the fifth person to die this year while in custody at the jail in downtown Seattle.

Booked at 3:12 a.m. Tuesday, the man was found unresponsive minutes later by corrections officers and was treated by jail medical staff before medics arrived and took him to Harborview, according to a news release. The release does not say what crime the man was suspected of committing.

The King County Medical Examiner’s Office will be responsible for identifying the man and determining his cause and manner of death.

As part of the standard review process for jail-related deaths, the Department of Adult & Juvenile Detention will work with Public Health — Seattle & King County to conduct an internal investigation, the news release says. Seattle police will also conduct an independent investigation.

There have been four other jail deaths reported so far this year.


On Feb. 4, Erick Hernandez-Mendoza, 34, died from acute drug intoxication, including meth, the medical examiner reported. Earlier that day, he had been transferred from the SCORE Jail in Des Moines to the King County Jail in Seattle on two felony warrants — one for possession of a stolen vehicle investigated by Renton police and the second for vehicle prowling that was investigated by Seattle police.

Keith Denegal, 47, died Feb. 20 from asphyxia due to ligature hanging and his death was ruled a suicide, according to the medical examiner.

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A week earlier, on Feb. 13, Denegal was arrested by Seattle police for felony violation of a domestic-violence no contact order and unlawfully carrying a dangerous weapon, accused of beating his ex-girlfriend and possessing brass knuckles, court records show.

On March 15, a 25-year-old man died at Harborview, five days after being found unresponsive in a jail cell. The medical examiner determined the 25-year-old also died from asphyxia due to ligature hanging and his death was ruled a suicide. His name has not yet been confirmed.

Leroy Brandt, 53, was booked into the jail on March 25, suspected of fatally shooting two Maple Valley men in February 2015 and burying their bodies in rural Pierce County. He was found dead in a jail cell two days later. Brandt died from asphyxia due to ligature hanging and his death was ruled a suicide.

Information from Seattle Times archives is included in this story.