Leonardo Hernandez, Waldemar Pacheno, Arcelia Miranda died in a Key West, Florida jail within a few weeks of each other. It is not clear whether an investigation into Stock Island Detention Center’s safety and other operations will follow. Hernandez was 44 when he died; the other two inmates who passed away this month did not commit suicide and were both 52 years old. It is not clear whether family members of any of the deceased wish to take any action in regards to the deaths, such as filing wrongful death suits.
Officials say that Hernandez hung himself with a sheet from the top bunk in his cell in Alpha Unit, the jail’s disciplinary unit, where he had been placed because of continued disciplinary issues in the jail. He died on March 18. He was the cell’s only occupant. It is not clear how long he had been dead for when he was discovered. It is also not clear whether he was on suicide watch, or whether the jail provides any specific suicide prevention programs for inmates.
Jail officials say that a deputy was doing a routine check when he saw Hernandez hanging from the bunk, and that he immediately entered and removed the sheet from around his neck. He also immediately called a nurse who was performing her rounds in the Alpha unit. The two performed CPR on Hernandez until emergency medical workers arrived and took him to Lower Keys Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead. Officials are conducting an investigation into the death and will perform an autopsy.
Hernandez had been convicted of multiple charges of drug possession, battery and driving with a suspended license. He had been arrested numerous times before on charges ranging from aggravated battery on a senior citizen to soliciting to sell cocaine to destroying evidence. It is not clear when he was supposed to be released from the prison.
The other two inmates who passed away this month both had extensive rap sheets as well: Waldemar Pacheno had been arrested multiple times starting in 2001 and was a registered Florida sex offender. Records show that he was convicted of sexually assaulting a child under the age of 16 in 1998. He had also been convicted of various drug crimes.
Pacheno died of natural causes due to illness on March 10, said officials from the jail. An autopsy and investigation into the death seemed to concur with that conclusion. Pacheno reportedly stopped breathing and was taken to Lower Keys Medical Center. He was pronounced dead there a short time later. It is not clear what kind of illness he was suffering from.
A week before, Aracelia Miranda died, also in the sick bay and reportedly of natural causes. Jail officials say that they tried to revive her using CPR and a defibrillator but were unsuccessful. Miranda was incarcerated on drug charges and had reportedly been arrested in the Florida Keys numerous times. She died on March 3. Like in Pacheno’s clear, it is not clear what kind of disease Miranda was suffering from and whether it was preventable with proper medical care.