Utah Jail Deaths Davis

April 20, 2017

Investigating jail deaths in Northern Utah

Utah has the most jail deaths per capita in the nation,
according to the U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics. Weber and Davis counties are among the worst in the state, outstripping even more populous Salt Lake County in death rates, data gathered by the Standard-Examiner shows. The following story archive is the first part of a yearlong effort by the Standard-Examiner to report on the people behind the mugshots and how they died.

Stories by jail

Scroll down to read more about this issue, or select a button below to filter our coverage by jail.

Before suicide, Davis County jail doctor denied patient's cancer diagnosis
Sunday, May 28, 2017

FARMINGTON — Tracy Velarde’s life took another wrong turn after he arrived at the Davis County Jail.

Davis County Jail suicide cases came with warning signs
Sunday, May 28, 2017

FARMINGTON — Two of three Davis County Jail inmates who died by hanging during an 8-week period in 2016 exhibited odd behavior in the days leading up to their deaths, according to investigative reports.

Weber detectives: Davis jail staff tainted crime scene after inmate's death
Tuesday, May 2, 2017

FARMINGTON — Potential evidence was destroyed in the Davis County Jail before Weber County detectives could examine the scenes where an inmate who died of a torn spleen was injured and treated, investigative reports show.

Utah AG: No criminal charges filed in woman's Davis County jail death
Friday, April 28, 2017

FARMINGTON — The Utah Attorney General’s Office said Friday no criminal charges will be filed in the death of Heather Ashton Miller, whose spleen was nearly torn in half by blunt forced trauma in a reported accidental fall at the Davis County Jail on Dec. 21, 2016.

Davis jail death deemed natural, despite accusation woman wasn't given medicine
Friday, April 21, 2017

FARMINGTON — Kara Noakes, her family and her friends were worried about her going without prescription medications after she was arrested on a traffic warrant and taken to the Davis County Jail June 21, 2016.

Heather Ashton Miller

Autopsy: Woman died of split spleen, blunt-force trauma in Davis jail
Wednesday, February 01, 2017

FARMINGTON — A woman arrested on drug possession charges died of a spleen split nearly in half by blunt-force trauma suffered at the Davis County Jail, an autopsy report says.

Police investigating woman's death after 41 hour stay in Davis jail
Tuesday, January 24, 2017

FARMINGTON — Authorities are investigating the death of a woman who died in a hospital after being taken by ambulance from the Davis County Jail four days before Christmas, a sheriff’s spokeswoman said Tuesday.

AG's Davis jail death investigation reveals possible missteps, lack of urgency
Wednesday, May 10, 2017

FARMINGTON — Paramedics complained they were denied rapid access to an inmate who lay critically injured in the Davis County Jail and later died, an investigation by the Utah Attorney General’s Office discovered.

Ambulance report shows Davis inmate was unresponsive when rescuers arrived
Saturday, March 11, 2017

FARMINGTON — A woman who died of a torn spleen apparently suffered in the Davis County Jail was medically unresponsive when Farmington City rescuers arrived, and she suffered a cardiac arrest en route to an Ogden hospital, an ambulance report shows.

County prosecutor asks Utah Attorney General to investigate Davis jail death
Wednesday, February 01, 2017

FARMINGTON — Davis County Attorney Troy Rawlings said Wednesday he has asked the Utah Attorney General’s Office to get involved in the investigation into the December 2016 death of a 28-year-old woman in the county jail.

Flint Harrison found dead at Davis County Jail, police say
Monday, July 25, 2016

DAVIS COUNTY — After being arrested in connection with the kidnapping of five women and the murder of a UTA worker, Flint Harrison was found dead at Davis County Jail on Monday morning, July 25.

After death in Davis County Jail, family alleges inmate wasn't given medication
Monday, June 27, 2016

SUNSET — After their mother died in Davis County Jail last week, three adult siblings have accused the jail of failing to provide the 46-year-old woman with blood pressure medication she needed.

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Mark Shenefelt and Nadia Pflaum directly at:


Stories on jail policies

Deaths in Utah's county jails support advocates' zero fatalities goal
Sunday, July 24, 2016

Utah’s county jails have elaborate policies aimed at safeguarding sick or suicidal inmates, but a spate of deaths has fostered concerns about a shaky safety net for those who go behind bars.

Jail deaths trigger levels of investigative machinery
Wednesday, July 27, 2016

When someone dies behind bars in Utah, multiple investigations quickly begin. But if the inmate’s passing appears to be medically related, there’s usually no public announcement or news coverage.

New avenues sought for drug detox in Utah jails
Sunday, August 28, 2016

OGDEN — Substance abuse treatment professionals are chipping away at practices in Utah jails they say can force inmates to endure painful and dangerous cold-turkey withdrawals from narcotics addictions.

Suicide Watch: Jails work to help inmates, prevent casualties
Wednesday, June 24, 2015

OGDEN -- Sandy Grattan continues to mourn her brother who died on June 8, 2014 by hanging himself in the Weber County Jail, just a few hours after being booked in.

Utah judge OKs lawsuit over delayed defendant treatment, hospital crowding
Wednesday, Sept. 28, 2016

SALT LAKE CITY — Utah’s system of handling mentally ill criminal defendants appears to be failing, a federal judge said in allowing a civil rights lawsuit to proceed against the state.