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 on jail policies
Stories by jail
Select a button below to filter our coverage by jail.
Sunday, Jan. 14, 2018
FARMINGTON —Davis County is facing a $2 million wrongful-death claim over allegations that the county jail deprived a woman of life-sustaining prescription medications after she was booked on a traffic-related offense.
Wednesday, Jan. 3, 2018
SALT LAKE CITY —A federal lawsuit alleges the Davis County Jail negligently handled the care of a woman who died of a massive blunt-force spleen injury several hours after she fell from a cell bunk.
Tuesday, Aug. 1, 2017
FARMINGTON — A Davis County Jail officer complained about a “snitch” alerting the county attorney to the death of an inmate who suffered a ruptured spleen in her cell Dec. 21, according to an internal affairs report.
Friday, Aug. 11, 2017
FARMINGTON — The pain struck so deep, she couldn’t drive through Farmington again for weeks. And not until now, nearly a year later, has she summoned the emotional strength to start asking questions about what happened to her brother.
Friday, June 23, 2017
FARMINGTON —They found Dominic Landreth wandering around a Layton business parking lot, incoherent and smelling of marijuana. It was the beginning of the end for the 19-year-old. He was booked into the Davis County Jail that morning of April 19, 2016, and did not leave alive.
Sunday, May 28, 2017
FARMINGTON — Tracy Velarde’s life took another wrong turn after he arrived at the Davis County Jail.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Friday, Jan. 12, 2018
FARMINGTON —Police are investigating the death of a 33-year-old man who collapsed in the Davis County Jail’s booking area on Dec. 14, 2017, law enforcement officials say.
Friday, Jan. 5, 2018
SALT LAKE CITY —Their lawsuit targets only the Davis County Jail, but Cynthia Farnham-Stella and her attorneys hope it will catalyze improvements to prevent inmate deaths throughout Utah.
Thursday, Dec. 7, 2017
FARMINGTON — Almost 16 months after Dominic Landreth died in the Davis County Jail, investigators still have not closed the case.
Wednesday, July 12, 2017
The criminal investigations into her daughter’s death are over, but Cynthia Farnham-Stella is covering new ground in her search for justice.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Do you have a story to share about jail deaths in Utah? Contact us.
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Or contact our reporter
Mark Shenefelt at firstname.lastname@example.org Report a jail death:
State law does not require jails to report an in-custody death to the public. Sometimes jails choose to send out press releases, but that's not typically the case. If you know someone who has died in a Utah jail, contact the Standard-Examiner at email@example.com with a name of the deceased and the name of the jail where they were in custody.
Requesting an autopsy:
An autopsy report is an official record of a medical examiner's findings during a post-mortem examination. That typically includes information on cause of death and details about the condition of the body as it relates to the factors around death.
In Utah, an autopsy report can only be released to immediate family members and legal representatives. The report is not automatically released to family — it needs to be requested and approved by the Utah Office of the Medical Examiner.
An Immediate family member is defined as a "surviving spouse, child, natural or adoptive parent, any full or half sibling, and any child aged 18 or older," according to the Utah Office of the Medical Examiner website. There is no time limit to when a record can be requested.