Jennings report finds no criminal acts in inmate’s death

The Jennings County prosecutor says there was no crime on the part of jail staff in the death of an inmate in May, but a state police report also concluded that the jail did not follow all of its procedures for ensuring the inmate’s safety.

Prosecutor Brian Belding has released his department’s report on the investigation into the death of 35-year-old Sandra I. Ray of North Vernon, who was found unresponsive in her cell in May. According to the report, an autopsy concluded Ray died as a result of complications from alcoholism and alcohol withdrawals.

Belding and Indiana State Police investigators concluded that there was no evidence of a crime in Ray’s death and no criminal charges are warranted.

The report did conclude that some procedures were not followed. The jail has a protocol for an inmate possibly going through alcohol withdrawals to be checked on every hour for the first four hours of their incarceration, then every two hours. And a physician is to be called on the first signs of tremors or altered consciousness.

However, between May 24th and 26th, only three check-ins were recorded. No doctor was called despite evidence of tremors and it is unclear whether the jail nurse was notified of Ray’s condition.