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Woman dies in Denver Downtown Detention Center, fourth jail death this year

EDITOR'S NOTE: On Monday, the Denver Sheriff Department said the woman did not actually die.

A woman who was being held at Denver's Downtown Detention Center died Saturday night, the Denver Sheriff Department said.

Few details were immediately available, but the sheriff's department said the woman was found unresponsive in her cell around 7:45 p.m. Medical staff at the jail, and then paramedics, tried to save her but were unsuccessful, the department said.

The Denver Office of the Medical Examiner will identify her, as well as conduct an autopsy the reveal the cause and manner of her death.

The Denver Police Department is also now investigating, according to DSD, which said it was limited in the information it could release.

CBS News Colorado reached out to the police department seeking more information Sunday but did not immediately hear back. DSD declined to comment beyond its initial press release.

The Van Cise-Simonet Detention Center in downtown Denver
The Van Cise-Simonet Detention Center (also known as the Denver Downtown Detention Center or Denver Jail), part of the Denver Justice Center. Katie Wood/The Denver Post via Getty Images

This is the fourth person to die in the jail in 2023, including a woman who died in her cell in March and a man who died in his cell in July.

There have also been a number of in-custody deaths in past years:

  • Last year, two people died in the jail in February and October. The family of Leroy Taylor, who died in February, has filed a wrongful death lawsuit, alleging Taylor was being refused medical care;
  • In April 2020, a man was found dead in his cell;
  • In 2015, Michael Marshall died at the jail after suffering an apparent heart attack. When the actual medical incident began and who's at fault remains in dispute; an attorney for Marshall's family says the fault lies with deputies at the jail but the District Attorney at the time declined to charge any of those deputies;
  • And in 2010, street preacher Marvin Booker died in the jail after being put in a headlock, sat on and shot with a taser by deputies. Prosecutors again declined to file criminal charges against the deputies despite the coroner's office ruling his death a homicide.

The jail currently has almost 1,700 inmates as of Sunday. CBS News Colorado has reported previously that the jail is understaffed by hundreds of people.

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