Dyteon Simpson found dead in EBR jail cell, sheriff's office cites overdose
The sheriff's office says a preliminary toxicology report was conducted and Simpson was "presumptively positive for fentanyl."
The sheriff's office said he was unresponsive in his cell when they found him around 8 p.m. The East Baton Rouge Coroner will conduct an autopsy and determine the cause of death.
"While we wait for a full report, we extend our condolences to his family," read a statement from the East Baton Rouge Public Defender's Office, which represented Simpson. "Two young men have lost their lives. Two families are dealing with insurmountable grief."
The overdose death is not the first at the parish prison—a system with an inmate death rate 66 percent higher than the national average.
Michael Cahoon with the Promise of Justice Initiative says the conditions in the prison are deplorable.
"Causes of death, both nationally and in EBR prison, you see highest numbers usually in suicides followed by drug-related deaths, overdoses,” he said.
Cahoon says at least two inmates have died from fentanyl overdoses at the prison in the last three years. Many more have overdosed but survived.
Most recently, two inmates survived an overdose on June 30 and July 1.
A warrant says the two likely got the drugs from another inmate who smuggled them inside her body.
It's not confirmed that Simpson got his lethal dose from the same batch, however, it's likely whatever he got had already been circulating inside the prison since in-person visitation has been suspended since June 20.
Cahoon says it's not uncommon for drugs to come from the inside.
"It's getting in other ways. That could be correctional staff...Vendors...Who knows? But it is getting in.”
Whether Simpson took the dose on purpose is unclear at this point.
In a statement, the East Baton Rouge Parish Prison Reform Coalition said this was the 57th death at the jail since 2012.
“Mr. Simpson stood before a jury and received his sentence. Once again due to issues related to the people, policies and procedures of the Sheriff's Department a life has ended prematurely and without accountability,” the group said in a statement.
The Sheriff's Office did not make anyone available for an interview.
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