VIDEO: Investigation begins in death of jail inmate

Published on Monday, 19 August 2013 23:20 - Written by KENNETH DEAN, kdean@tylerpaper.com

An investigation is underway after an inmate died in the Gregg County Jail.

Gregg County Sheriff Maxey Cerliano said an investigation had been initiated into the death of jail inmate, Debra Ingram Duffie, 52, who died Monday.

Ms. Duffie had been in custody at the Gregg County Jail since her arrest on earlier this month on violation of probation and assault family violence charges.

Cerliano said the woman had been booked into the Gregg County jail eight times for various charges.

On Wednesday, Ms. Duffie appeared in the Gregg County Court at Law No. 1 and was sentenced to 100 days of confinement in the county jail.

Cerliano said 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. 

Ms. Duffie had been sent from the jail to Good Shepherd Medical Center on Thursday for treatment of a medical condition and was released to return to the jail that day.

On Sunday, 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.

Cerliano said the jail doctor ordered Ms. Duffie be sent to Good Shepherd Medical Center for additional treatment.

“Longview Fire EMS responded, and the inmate was again transported to Good Shepherd Medical Center. During the transport, Duffie had what is believed to be a significant cardiac event.  Duffie was admitted to the hospital for treatment,” he said.

Cerliano said Ms. Duffie was treated at the hospital for over 12 hours and died at 5:12 a.m.  Justice of the Peace Precinct 1, B.H. Jameson, conducted an inquest and ordered an autopsy to be performed at the Tarrant County Medical Examiner’s Office.

Cerliano said Texas Ranger Todd Martin and Gregg County Sheriff’s investigators are conducting the investigation.

“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,” he said.

Cerliano said 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.