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OSBI investigating in-custody death at Lawton City Jail

osbi lawton city jail

An inmate watches TV in a housing pod where many inmates with mental illness are kept at the Hampton Roads Regional Jail in Portsmouth, Va., on Thursday, Aug. 16, 2018. (Alex Driehaus)

LAWTON, Okla. – The Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation (OSBI) is investigating the death of a 30-year-old man who died on June 10 in the Lawton City Jail. The OSBI was requested by the Lawton Police Department on June 10, 2021.

The man was arrested on June 9, 2021 around 1 a.m. on two city warrants and he was booked into the jail. He was found unresponsive by corrections staff around 4:00 p.m. on June 10, 2021. According to a press release from OSBI, “corrections staff attempted life-saving measures but he was pronounced deceased at the jail.”

It’s unclear exactly how many people have died while in-custody at Lawton’s jail because local jails report deaths only to the federal Bureau of Justice Statistics, and the Bureau refuses to publicly release data on specific facilities. However, jail deaths across Oklahoma have given the state the notorious distinction of having the second-highest jail mortality rate in the nation, according to an analysis this year by Oklahoma Watch.

Moreover, at least four deaths have been recorded at the Lawton City Jail between 2009 and 2019, according to the analysis. Based on the report, the causes of death for the majority of the deceased were illness and suicide, followed by homicide, unknown, accident, and drug overdose.

The identity of the deceased is pending next of kin notification. The medical examiner’s office is working to determine the cause and manner of death. This is an open and active investigation and OSBI has said no additional details will be released at this time.

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