Inmate ID'd in jail death
Autopsy to be performed on Arizona man
The Colorado Bureau of Investigations is examining an inmate death at the Montezuma County jail. It's the second reported inmate death to occur in four months.
According to Montezuma County Sheriff Dennis Spruell's Facebook page, Harrison M. Begay, 38, of Tonalea, Ariz., was pronounced dead inside a holding cell about 3:30 a.m. Sunday, Oct. 27. Begay was brought into the jail early Saturday by the Cortez Police Department on a charge of trespassing.
According to Spruell, Montezuma County Coroner Charlie Rosenbaugh has requested an autopsy.
Spruell added a joint investigation was launched with his agency and the Colorado Bureau of Investigations.
Initial reports said Begay was brought into the jail around 1 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 26. The social media site reveals the inmate was "highly intoxicated," and transported to an unnamed hospital for a medical clearance.
"The jail requires all suspects to receive a medical clearance if they are highly intoxicated or have obvious injuries," Sheriff Spruell posted on Facebook on Monday morning.
After being cleared at the hospital, the inmate was returned to the jail at an unknown time. The Facebook post indicates the inmate was booked at 7 p.m.
According to the social media post, it appears a nurse was not on duty, but the inmate was placed on a medical watch.
"A medical watch requires detention staff to physically check on the prisoner every 30 minutes," Spruell posted.
At 9:22 p.m., the prisoner was contacted again, and he reportedly told the detention staff he was OK.
A public information officer with the Montezuma County Sheriff's Office declined to release any additional information.
Sheriff Spruell routinely updates his Facebook page, and often times states that those facing charges are "left in the care of the jail."
The weekend death marks the second such incident at the Montezuma County jail this year. Edward Grant Lyen, 61, reportedly committed suicide while in custody at the jail on June 13.
The Montezuma County Jail is a 104-bed facility operated under the direction of the Sheriff's Office. According to Spruell, the facility houses an average of 90 inmates per day.