Inmate who died in Montezuma County Jail identified

The Colorado Bureau of Investigations is examining an inmate death at the Montezuma County Jail. It’s the second reported inmate death 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 said a joint investigation was launched with his agency and the Colorado Bureau of Investigations.

Initial reports stated Begay was brought into the jail about 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.

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.

At 9:22 p.m., the prisoner was contacted again, and he reportedly told the detention staff he was OK.

Two weeks prior to Begay’s death, a report from the Cortez Police Department reveals he was previously arrested on Oct. 12. At that time, police reportedly found Begay intoxicated behind the Best Western Motel. Police said they transported Begay to Southwest Memorial Hospital for a medical clearance before taking him to the Montezuma County jail on a warrant for failure to appear on a charge of obstructing justice.