Autopsy: San Diego County jail inmate killed himself

January 29, 2020 GMT

SAN DIEGO (AP) — An inmate who died at a San Diego County jail last summer killed himself, authorities said Tuesday.

Julio Ortiz Lopez, 48, was found in his cell at Vista Detention Facility on Aug. 26 and pronounced dead a short time later after attempts to revive him failed, the county Sheriff’s Department said in a statement.

An autopsy determined that the cause of death “was choking and the manner of death, suicide,” the statement said.

Lopez had been behind bars for two days after being arrested for being drunk in public and on a warrant for failing to appear in court on another public drunkenness case, authorities said.

Lopez was one of 16 people to die in San Diego County jails last year, according to the San Diego Union-Tribune.

More than 140 people have died in county jail custody since 2009, and the mortality rate is the highest among California’s largest county jail systems, the paper reported last fall.