A 30-year-old Galveston County jail inmate died Thursday morning, according to the Galveston County Sheriff’s Office.

The man, whose name had not been released, died after suffering some sort of medical episode Wednesday evening, County Sheriff Henry Trochesset said.

The man was taken to the hospital after he was found to be dehydrated, Trochesset said.

The man was being treated by doctors at the jail before he was transferred to a University of Texas Medical Branch hospital about 6:40 p.m., Trochesset said. He died about 12:44 a.m. Thursday, he said.

The exact cause of the man’s death had not been determined, Trochesset said. The sheriff’s office had asked the Texas Rangers to investigate.

The man had been awaiting trial in the jail since Jan. 4, Trochesset said. He was being held on multiple charges, including assault and unlawful possession of a firearm, Trochesset said.

The man was being held in the jail’s general population and was not receiving medical treatment before Wednesday, Trochesset said.

Texas Department of Public Safety spokesman Sgt. Erik Burse confirmed that the Rangers had been requested to investigate the death. The Rangers will complete an investigation and give those results to the Galveston County District Attorney’s Office, Burse said.

It will be up to prosecutors to decide whether any charges are filed, Burse said.

This was the first reported in-custody death at the jail since 2017, according to the Texas Attorney General’s Office.

At least four other people have died in jail custody since 2015, according to attorney general’s records and lawsuits filed against the county.

In June 2017, the family of Jorge Luis Cortez filed a lawsuit asserting the county and its contracted medical providers, Boon-Chapman Benefit Administrators Inc. and Soluta Health Inc., failed to adequately treat him while he was suffering from a punctured lung and was too weak to eat. That lawsuit is still pending in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas. Cortez’s name does not appear on the state’s list of custodial deaths.

In July 2017, the county reached a settlement agreement with the family of Jesse Jacobs, who died while in the county’s custody in 2015.

Jacob’s family asserted he had been denied medical treatment for withdrawals from an anti-anxiety medication after he turned himself in to serve a 30-day sentence on a DWI conviction.

The state records list two other custodial deaths in 2017.

Jerry Louise Hill, 61, died in November 2017, and Barry Edward Phillips, 65, died in December 2017.

Hill died because of a pre-existing medical condition, and Phillips died of natural causes, according to custodial death reports provided by the attorney general’s office.

No lawsuits had been filed related to those deaths as of Thursday.

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


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