By Arwyn Rice
Peninsula Daily News
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Lena Yvonne Giulietti, 44, of Port Angeles died in the predawn hours Tuesday at Harborview Medical Center in Seattle, according to her son, Shaun Giulietti of Tacoma, on Wednesday.
The King County medical examiner is conducting an investigation into the death, with an initial autopsy done Wednesday, according to her son.
Preliminary results were expected late Wednesday, said a clerk at the King County Medical Examiner’s Office.
An inmate was found on the floor of her cell early in the morning Sept. 26, injured and bleeding from what the Clallam County Sheriff’s Office believed to be a fall, said Ron Sukert, superintendent of the Clallam County jail, answering questions about Giulietti.
The Sheriff’s Office was not allowed to identify the prisoner, whom family members identified as Giulietti, until King County releases the information, Undersheriff Ron Peregrin said.
The inmate was taken into custody at the jail at about 11 p.m. Sept. 25, Sukert said.
An arrest warrant had been issued May 18 for Giulietti, according to a public statement issued by Port Angeles Police Detective Sgt. Jason Viada after the warrant had been issued.
She was charged with two counts of “delivery of heroin within 1,000 feet of a school bus stop,” the result of an OPNET (Olympic Peninsula Narcotics Enforcement Team) investigation that occurred in August 2011, according to the statement.
She was scheduled to appear in Clallam County Superior Court to address the charges May 18, but she failed to appear, and the warrant was issued for her arrest, Viada said in the statement.
Peregrin said after the inmate was found unconscious on the floor of her cell, she was seen by the jail’s duty nurse, then was taken to Olympic Medical Center, where medical personnel determined that the woman was severely ill from causes unrelated to the fall.
She was then transferred to Harborview for treatment, Peregrin said.
Shaun Giulietti said his mother had been taken into custody after being discharged from OMC, where she had sought treatment after not feeling well, and should have been in the jail’s infirmary rather than in an regular cell.
“She was so weak she couldn’t have even climbed into that top bunk,” he said.
Shaun Giulietti said the family is considering a private investigation into the death.
Family members were with his mother when she died, her son said.
“She never woke up,” he said.
Shaun Giulietti said family members had been told that the preliminary examination indicated that Lena Giulietti’s death was caused by a combination of head injuries and endocarditis, which is inflammation of the lining of the heart.
Her body will be kept by King County for two weeks for additional testing and investigation, he said.
Peregrin said he was unfamiliar with the family’s concerns but that the Sheriff’s Office is conducting an investigation into how the fall in the cell happened and what caused the death.
“We want to know if what happened in the cell was an accident, self-inflicted or inflicted by another person,” he said.
Reporter Arwyn Rice can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5070, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.