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Sheriff Responds after Gregg County Inmate Dies in Custody

Posted/updated on: August 20, 2013 at 4:09 pm
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duffie__debraLONGVIEW — Gregg County Sheriff Maxey Cerliano announced that an investigation had been initiated into the death of jail inmate Debra Ingram Duffie, a 52-year-old female who died August 19. According to a news release from Cerliano, Duffie had been in custody at the Gregg County Jail since her arrest on August 12. The inmate was charged with violation of probation, assault family violence, and had been booked into the Gregg County jail 8 times for various charges. On August 14, 2013, Duffie appeared in the Gregg County Court at Law #1 and was sentenced to 100 days confinement in the county jail.

Sheriff Cerliano advised that the inmate was housed in a separation cell at the Gregg County North Jail, and was being treated for a medical condition by jail medical staff. The sheriff says Duffie had previously been sent from the jail to Good Shepherd Medical Center on August 15 for treatment of a medical condition and was released to return to the jail on the same day.

On Sunday, August 18, the jail medical staff, consisting of a licensed vocational nurse, continued the inmate’s treatment and alerted the jail doctor of the inmate’s symptoms, according to Cerliano. The sheriff says the jail doctor ordered that Duffie be sent to Good Shepherd Medical Center for additional treatment. Longview Fire EMS responded, and the inmate was again transported to Good Shepherd, according to the sheriff. During the transport, Duffie had what is believed to be a significant cardiac event. Duffie was admitted to the hospital for treatment.

Duffie was treated at the hospital for over 12 hours and died at 5:12 am. Justice of the Peace #1, B.H. Jameson conducted an inquest. Judge Jameson ordered an autopsy to be performed at the Tarrant County Medical Examiner’s Office. Texas Ranger Todd Martin along with Gregg County Sheriff’s Investigators is conducting the investigation. Cerliano says the completed investigation will be forwarded to the Gregg County District Attorney’s Office for review. The Texas Commission on Jail Standards was notified, and reports will be filed with TCJS as well as the Office of the Attorney General, according to the news release.

Cerliano advised that all documents, reports, logs, and electronic recordings are under review by Investigators. He stipulated that the investigation is ongoing and the autopsy report is pending. The news release adds that the public and the news media will be informed as information becomes available and is released by Sheriff Cerliano, Texas Rangers, and the Gregg County District Attorney’s Office.

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