Cause Determined in Death of LaPorte County Jail Inmate

LaPorte County Sheriff's Department
LaPorte County Sheriff's Department

LaPorte County Sheriff Michael Mollenhauer has released further information regarding the death of an in-custody inmate at the La Porte County Security Complex. Dead is Roy E. Young, 37, of Michigan City, Indiana. He was pronounced dead at 7:42 AM on Saturday March 19th, 2011 at Indiana University Health LaPorte Hospital.

An autopsy was performed on Monday March 21st, 2011. The official cause of death is cardiac arrhythmia induced by a drug overdose. The death is being termed “accidental.” During the autopsy, a plastic “tie off” baggie was found in the decedent’s intestinal track. Evidence is consistent with the statement given to police by Mr. Young’s cellmate that Mr. Young told him he had “swallowed cocaine” during the LaPorte Police traffic stop in an attempt to prevent being arrested for being in possession of the drug. Toxicology results are pending.

Mr. Young was received at about 1:37 AM on Saturday March 19th and immediately booked into the LaPorte County Jail after being arrested by the LaPorte Police Department for operating while intoxicated. Mr. Young showed no signs of distress during the booking process. He was placed in a holding cell with another inmate. Video shows Mr. Young sleeping for the majority of the night. It was not until approximately 7:00 AM that Mr. Young suffered a seizure. Jail personnel administered emergency medical care. EMS was dispatched and transported Mr. Young to the hospital via ambulance.

It was not learned until later, when his cellmate was interviewed, that Mr. Young had ingested the cocaine. The cellmate said Mr. Young attempted to regurgitate the cocaine by placing his finger into his mouth. Neither Mr. Young nor the cellmate alerted jail personnel until he suffered the seizure.