Foul play not suspected in death of inmate at Delta County Jail

Delta County Coroner Kevin Lucy said foul play is not suspected in the death of an inmate at the Delta County Jail this past weekend, potentially the first Delta inmate death in more than two decades.

Justin Stieb, 36, of Delta, was believed to have died Saturday as a result of natural causes, but a final ruling on cause and manner of death is being withheld pending the results of a toxicology test, Lucy said Tuesday.

Delta County Sheriff Fred McKee said Stieb was found unconscious and not breathing, alone in his cell, late Saturday afternoon. McKee said he was notified around 5 p.m. Stieb was found dead during a routine check approximately 20 minutes after deputies had observed him alive in his cell, the sheriff said.

Stieb was not on suicide watch, nor receiving any other special status or observation while in custody.

According to McKee and Lucy, Stieb had been transported while in custody from the jail around 7 a.m. or 7:30 a.m. Saturday to Delta County Memorial Hospital for treatment for a pre-existing medical condition. Authorities didn’t confirm the timing of Stieb’s discharge from the hospital, his re-booking at the jail and when he was found in his cell.

McKee did not elaborate on the medical condition because of an active investigation.

Stieb was recently sentenced to serve two years at the jail stemming from a theft investigation by the sheriff’s office.
McKee said he couldn’t recall another in-custody inmate death during his 24 years at the Delta County Sheriff’s Office.


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