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Inmate death reported at Santa Barbara County Main Jail

SANTA BARBARA COUNTY, Calif. -- The Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Office reported an inmate death at the Santa Barbara County Main Jail.

Around 2 a.m. on Wednesday, the Sheriff's Office reported the death of 45-year-old Jonathan Paul Thomas, an inmate at the jail.

The cause of death is currently under investigation.

Thomas was arrested by Santa Maria police on Tuesday, Jan. 11 around 9:30 a.m. for alleged misdemeanor domestic violence and felony false imprisonment.

He was booked into to the jail around 1:30 a.m. on Wednesday and was being held on $10,000 bail.

The sheriff's office said Thomas made statements about suicide prior to and during his booking process, and was put into a single-occupant safety cell after he was deemed a danger to himself.

So far, the ongoing investigation for his death indicates Thomas was inside the safety cell and deputies removed his clothing and placed him face down on the floor of the cell. After removing his handcuffs, the deputies left the cell and minutes later noticed that Thomas was not moving.

A report states the custody deputies then began lifesaving measures and requested emergency medical response. WellPath, the health care company contracted at the jail, Santa Barbara County Fire and paramedics all responded, but Thomas was declared dead in his cell.

The cause of death remains unclear at this time. An autopsy has been scheduled for Thursday.

If you are feeling suicidal, help is available. Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255. You can also chat with a counselor online.

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Lily Dallow

Lily Dallow is a digital journalist and assignment editor at News Channel 3-12. To learn more about Lily, click here.


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