May 30, 2017
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Jail inmate died of natural causes, officials report


A 52-year-old inmate found non-responsive in a Kenosha County Jail cell Tuesday morning died of apparent natural causes, authorities said Wednesday.

A corrections officer discovered Lee A. Griffin of Kenosha lying in bed and not moving around 8:30 a.m., according to a sheriff’s department report.

In interviews with investigators, inmates who had cells near Griffin’s said they woke up earlier to have breakfast before going back to their beds, but that Griffin had not gotten up. When the jailer went to the cell, he discovered Griffin lying on his side, as though he were asleep.

One inmate said he last saw Griffin at dinner around 5 p.m. on Monday, but that Griffin didn’t eat. According to the report, Griffin was quiet and kept to himself and didn’t complain about any medical problems. He had also been seen by a jail nurse on Monday and his vital signs were fine, according to the report.

Sgt. Dan Ruth, sheriff’s department spokesman, said that Griffin showed “no signs of distress” and investigators found nothing suspicious.

“It appears he may have passed away in his sleep of natural causes,” Ruth said.

Medical personnel responding did not attempt to revive him because had already been dead several hours, according to the report. He was pronounce dead at 9:08 a.m., however, he was believed to have died between 1 a.m. and 3 a.m., according to a medical examiner who responded to the scene.

Griffin had been arrested early Sunday on a probation hold, according to the report. He has had prior convictions on felony drug charges.

Joyce Howell, a cousin of Griffin, said the last time she saw him was late Saturday night prior to his arrest. He had stopped by her house in Racine to say “hi” and he seemed fine, she said. While the report was uncertain of any medical conditions, she said her cousin had asthma and carried an inhaler with him.

An autopsy report is pending.


An inmate found unresponsive in a Kenosha County jail cell Tuesday was believed to have died of natural causes, according to authorities.

Lee A. Griffin, 52, of Kenosha, had been arrested on a probation hold early Sunday. Investigators found nothing suspicious and he is believed to have died in his sleep, a sheriff’s department spokesman said Wednesday. A cause of death is pending results of an autopsy.


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