March 14, 2013

Female inmate dies at jail

Autopsy pending

By Nita Johnson
Staff Writer

LAUREL COUNTY, Ky. — Laurel County Jailer Jamie Mosley looked troubled as he addressed media on Monday evening concerning the death of an inmate.

Cortney Renee Beldon, 28, of 90 American Greeting Card Road in Corbin, was booked into the Laurel County Detention Center on March 3 on charges of knowingly assisting in obtaining or attempting to obtain a controlled substance without a practitioner or patient relationship. Mosley said Beldon was housed in a single cell near the jail’s medical office due to some health problems, although he said he could not elaborate on the specifics due to HEPA restrictions.

“This is a situation that no jailer ever wants to deal with,” Mosley said. “This is the first death we’ve had since I’ve been here.” Mosley has served as jailer for three years in January.

Mosley said Beldon began experiencing “distress” around 11 p.m. on March 8. She was seen by a jail employee during a routine bed check, who then contacted the jail’s medical staff.

“They began doing CPR on her and the ambulance arrived in three minutes,” Mosley said. “She was taken to Saint Joseph hospital here in London and the time of death was recorded at 00:00 (midnight).”

Beldon had been to the jail’s medical department just 90 minutes prior to the incident.

“She was struggling to remain conscious,” Mosley said. “She had been seen at the medical department but there was nothing that would be seen as life threatening. We never had any symptoms expressed from her that were serious in nature. The medical department did an excellent job responding to her (Beldon) . She died at the hospital within an hour after she first showed signs of distress.”

He said Beldon was “walking and talking,” just prior to the incident that resulted in her untimely death.

Mosley added Beldon was housed on the first floor of the jail, where persons with health issues are housed for closer proximity for the medical staff.

“The people who come in here are not always in the best of health and those with problems are kept on the first floor near the medical department,” Mosley explained. “When people are booked in here, they undergo a medical screening within the first 24 hours. Our medical staff, Southern Health Partners, are excellent in their field, which is providing health care to incarcerated people. They observe the mannerisms, whether they are under the influence, their health history and if there are any concerns. We have and will continue to review audio and video since her admission, not only for Ms. Beldon but to make sure that we did everything we could for her. We’ll review this from top to bottom.”

Mosley said he could not speculate on the cause of Beldon’s death until autopsy and toxicology reports were completed. The autopsy report could take up to “two or three weeks,” he added.

Mosley said the incident was the subject of an internal investigation within the jail as well as a death investigation conducted by the Laurel County Sheriff’s Office. He said the jail’s Chaplain, Harry Ormsby, has been available for both inmates and jail staff to provide counseling if needed.

“We have emergencies like this all the time,” Mosley said.  “This is the first time it’s been fatal.”