Clallam County jail inmate found dead

Port Angeles man is discovered hanging from blanket in his cell

PORT ANGELES — A Port Angeles man in custody at the Clallam County jail died after he was found hanging by his neck from a blanket.

Joshua R. Bones, 39, was transported to Olympic Medical Center in Port Angeles where he was pronounced dead, said Chief Criminal Deputy Brian King.

He was found at 12:53 a.m. Friday morning during the first cell check after lights out and 53 minutes since the last cell check, King said.

After Bones was discovered, corrections deputies attempted life-saving procedures, including chest compressions and use of an automated external defibrillator, according to a press release announcing the death that was issued Tuesday.

Port Angeles Fire Department personnel transported the man to the hospital.

The sheriff’s office asked the Port Angeles Police Department (PAPD) to investigate the incident, and that investigation is continuing, according to the release.

The PAPD investigation won’t be completed until the final death certificate is issued with the cause of death, King said.

“It depends a lot on that certificate and how that testing comes back,” he said.

Bones was awaiting trial on felony assault charges and was the sole occupant of his cell when he was discovered by deputies, the release said.

King said he wasn’t alone in the two-person cell due to any restrictions on having a cellmate; it was based on jail population at the time.

Per state law, the sheriff’s office will conduct an “unexpected fatality review” and issue a report that will be sent to the state Department of Health.

“The (unexpected fatality review) could be a long time, especially if they do toxicology testing, but that’s a coroner’s decision. We don’t suspect it is toxicology-related but doesn’t mean they will not do that testing,” King said.

According to RCW 72.09.770, an unexpected fatality review means “a review of any death that was not the result of a diagnosed or documented terminal illness or other debilitating or deteriorating illness or condition where the death was anticipated, and includes the death of any person under the jurisdiction of the department, regardless of where the death actually occurred.

“A review must include an analysis of the root cause or causes of the unexpected fatality, and an associated corrective action plan for the department to address identified root causes and recommendations made by the unexpected fatality review team under this section.”

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Reporter Brian Gawley can be reached at brian.gawley@soundpublishing.com.

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