Archive for Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Inmate death case still open, pending toxicology results

The Douglas County Jail

The Douglas County Jail

July 4, 2012

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The Kansas Bureau of Investigation is awaiting toxicology results from the coroner’s office before closing its investigation into the May death of Douglas County Jail inmate Rachel M. Hammers.

“We’ll wrap it up at that point,” said Scott Ferris, a KBI special agent in charge.

According to the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office, correctional facility staff responded at 9:51 a.m. May 12 to an inmate, Hammers, who was experiencing a medical emergency. Staff members initiated CPR, and Lawrence-Douglas County Fire Medical workers transported her to Lawrence Memorial Hospital, where she was later pronounced dead.

By law, the KBI investigates the deaths of all Kansas inmates.

According to a one-page report, KBI agents have interviewed inmates and jail staff members, and reviewed jail and medical records.

“The investigation revealed that Hammers was found by detention deputies unresponsive in her single-person cell,” the report said, noting that jail staff members then contacted medics who took her to the hospital. “The autopsy revealed that Hammers’ death was due to a natural medical event.”

Ferris said the case remains open, pending the toxicology results.

According to jail records, Hammers was booked into jail at 5:45 p.m. the day before she died on a warrant for failing to appear in district court. According to court records, the warrant was related to a February guilty plea to DUI, and prosecutors were seeking to revoke her probation.

Hammers was a 1997 graduate of Perry-Lecompton High School and a 2003 Kansas University graduate.

Hers was the first in-custody death at the jail, 3601 E. 25th St., since it opened in 1999, according to the sheriff’s office.

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