JCCF reports first death of inmate in facility's history

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James Wippel, 59, died while in the custody of the Jefferson County Correctional Facility April 26.

SUBMITTED PHOTO - James Eugene WippelA Portland man, James Eugene Wippel, 59, died April 26, while in the custody of the Jefferson County Correctional Facility.

Wippel had been arrested two days earlier, April 24, in Warm Springs, for unlawful possession of heroin and methamphetamine, and unlawful delivery of heroin. The Warm Springs Police Department transported him to the JCCF without incident.

An autopsy to determine cause of death was conducted on April 27, but results are not yet available, according to Jefferson County Sheriff Jim Adkins.

"I do not have the results and suspect it will be many weeks before we get a final report from the state medical examiner, as they are also waiting for the toxicology report," said Adkins.

On the morning of his death, Wippel reported that he wasn't feeling well, and was seen by the JCSO staff nurse, Adkins said.

"At approximately 8:30 a.m., jail staff gave Mr. Wippel a conditional release and readied him for transport to the hospital. However, because Mr. Wippel again began showing signs of distress, sheriff's staff summoned an ambulance for him," noted the sheriff. "Paramedics arrived on the scene, readied him for transport and had to administer CPR, but sadly their efforts to save Mr. Wippel were not successful."

"The Major Incident Team is in the process of conducting a thorough investigation," Adkins said. "The district attorney is in charge of any 'death investigation,' and I suspect it will be several weeks before we get a completed product from the team."

This is the first death at the Jefferson County Correctional Facility since it was completed in 2000. "Nevertheless, the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office staff care deeply about the medical well-being of inmates, and will fully cooperate with the Central Oregon Major Incident Team," Adkins said.