Officials on Friday identified the man who died while in custody of the Galveston County Jail as a La Marque resident arrested in January.

Ronald Cotton Jr., 30, of La Marque, died early Thursday morning at the University of Texas Medical Branch, according to the Galveston County Sheriff’s Office.

Cotton had been taken to the hospital at about 6:40 p.m. for treatment for dehydration, according to the sheriff’s office. He died about 12:44 the next morning.

The sheriff’s office has not said why Cotton was dehydrated, or how he had reached the point where he needed medical treatment.

The Galveston County Medical Examiner’s Office had not identified a cause for Cotton’s death as of Friday afternoon.

Cotton was being held in the general population area of the jail before he was taken to the hospital, Galveston County Sheriff Henry Trochesset said.

Cotton was in jail awaiting trial on multiple charges, including felony charges of burglary of a habitation and unlawful possession of a firearm by a felon and misdemeanor charges of assault causing bodily injury to a family member and criminal mischief.

Cotton was charged with burglarizing a home in La Marque while using a gun in January. While he was in jail, prosecutors added the assault charge and cited an incident from June 2018. The victim of the assault and the burglary appear to be the same person, according to court records.

Cotton had a criminal record dating back to 2011, according to court documents. In 2012, he pleaded guilty to a charge of accident involving death, over a February 2010 hit-and-run crash in Texas that killed 56-year-old Richard Marschner.

Cotton was paroled in 2015, according to public records.

Cotton was being represented by Galveston attorney Susan Criss. Criss said on Friday she had been appointed to represent Cotton after he was arrested in January.

Criss on Friday said she had little information about Cotton’s death. Her office received a message from a relative of Cotton’s about 4:30 p.m. Wednesday saying he had fallen ill at the jail, Criss said. The caller did not leave any contact information with Criss’ office, she said.

Criss said she went to the jail Wednesday evening in attempt to get information about Cotton’s condition, but he had already been taken to the hospital.

She learned Thursday that Cotton had died, she said.

Cotton’s death is the fifth reported death of an inmate in custody of the Galveston County Jail since 2016.

The Texas Rangers are investigating Cotton’s death and will deliver a report to the Galveston County District Attorney’s Office, officials said.

John Wayne Ferguson: 409-683-5226; or on Twitter @johnwferguson.


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