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Douglas County Jail inmate dies Wednesday of apparent suicide

A Douglas County Jail inmate died of an apparent suicide on Wednesday, officials said.
A Douglas County Jail inmate died of an apparent suicide on Wednesday, officials said.(Submitted)
Published: Jan. 14, 2021 at 5:37 AM CST
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LAWRENCE, Kan. (WIBW) - An inmate at the Douglas County Jail died Wednesday of an apparent suicide, authorities said.

The inmate was identified as Ronald J. Blake, 51, of Olathe.

The announcement was made on the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office Facebook page.

According to the post, Blake was found dead at 12:09 p.m. Wednesday at the jail of what was described as a “suspected suicide.”

The post stated that Blake held the position of “special floor worker.”

According to the post, “This position came with responsibilities giving him special access within the secure facility and it was not unusual for him to work alone for several hours, moving between different locations in the building.”

The post stated that officers and staff interacted with Blake before he began work on Wednesday and throughout the morning in the hallways while he worked, and reported that he appeared in good spirits.

When Blake didn’t return for lunch, officers searched and discovered him unresponsive in one of his work areas, the post said.

Upon locating Blake, officers called for medics and performed life-saving measures, including use of an automated external defibrillator but were unable to revive him.

According to protocol, Douglas County Sheriff Jay Armbrister put the facility in lockdown and assigned a detective to the scene until agents from the Kansas Bureau of Investigations arrived.

Kansas statute calls for the KBI to investigate all deaths in a prison or correctional facility that are not attended by a physician.

Bert Nash Community Mental Health Center staff members and Douglas County Sheriff’s Office chaplains are available to both inmates and employees to provide support during this time, the post stated.

The Lawrence Police Department and other area agencies will assist with a critical incident debriefing and in providing peer support to officers.

Blake’s family was notified of his death.

In the Facebook post, Douglas County sheriff’s officials said, “Our deepest sympathies for this tragic loss go out to his family members, and to the officers and inmates who knew him at the facility.”

Additional details weren’t immediately available.

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