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Marion County Sheriff's Office report says the man awaiting trial in connection with the death of a Gervais teen died in jail

FILE - Kenneth Williams PedenMarion County Sheriff's Office reported that a Woodburn man died while in custody at Marion County Jail.

Kenneth William Peden III, 21, was found unconscious in his cell at about 6 a.m. Wednesday, Sept. 22. MCSO Sgt. Jeremy Landers said deputies and onsite medical staff at the facility began administering CPR and used an automated external defibrillator in resuscitation attempts.

Additional emergency personnel were called in from the Salem Fire Department and Flack Ambulance to assist, but Peden was pronounced dead at the scene. Authorities attribute the cause of death to suicide.

Peden was in custody awaiting trial on multiple felony charges, including first-degree murder, kidnapping, multiple counts of attempted murder and fleeing or attempting to elude a police officer.

Peden was arrested May 12 in a high-profile incident that ultimately claimed the life of a Gervais teen, left another Gervais resident hospitalized and led Silverton Police and MCSO deputies on a pursuit that involved gunfire, ending on Highway 214 near Forest Ridge Road.

The family of the slain teen referred to them as Molly/Ollie Taylor, while the Statesman Journal reported that the teen had transitioned and identified as a young man, using the name Oliver.

Court records indicate that Peden was scheduled to go to trial on his charges in May 2022.

Landers said that in accordance with MCSO policy, Linn County Sheriff's Office has been asked to investigate Peden's death in cooperation with the Marion County District Attorney's Office and medical examiner. Oregon law requires a death investigation for all deaths occurring while incarcerated in any jail, correctional facility or in police custody. 

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