County Jail inmate died Wednesday of natural causes, and there “was no
indication of coronavirus,” said Bulloch County Coroner Jake Futch.
The yet-unidentified man’s cellmate alerted jail staff Wednesday morning that the victim was unresponsive, said Bulloch County sheriff’s Capt. Todd Hutchens. Authorities are not yet releasing the man’s name so immediate family can be notified first, he said.
“Jail staff, medical staff and investigators responded to a male cell block” where the man was found collapsed, he said. They, along with the cellmate, all immediately administered medical aid, but the inmate was deceased.
The body was turned over to the coroner’s office, and after a review of surveillance video and further investigation, “no foul play is suspected,” Hutchens said. The man’s body was sent to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation crime lab for an autopsy, but his medical history indicates he died of natural causes, according to Futch.
In light of the current concerns over the COVID-19 pandemic, authorities anticipated questions about whether the man suffered from the coronavirus. Both Futch and Hutchens firmly denied the inmate appeared to be suffering from any upper respiratory illness.
“There were no symptoms of COVID-19, and the medical examiner’s office will test (for the virus) as part of the autopsy,” Hutchens said.
The inmate was not a new arrival, but had been incarcerated since the fall, he said. Bulloch County Sheriff Noel Brown announced earlier this week that there have been no reported cases of possible coronavirus reported at the jail or Sheriff’s Office, including inmates and staff.
Herald reporter Holli Deal Saxon may be reached at (912) 489-9414.