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Inmate found dead at county jail
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An inmate housed at the Stanislaus County Jail was found dead inside his cell Wednesday morning.


The sheriff’s department identified the deceased as Richard Taylor, 27, of Salinas.

 Taylor had been booked into jail on June 24 after he was arrested by the Turlock Police Department on narcotics charges.

Taylor was found in his cell around 5 a.m. by jail staff and was pronounced dead soon after. The death is being investigated by Stanislaus County Sheriff’s detectives.


Investigators have determined Taylor had not been involved in any type of altercation with jail staff or other inmates. He was being held in a single cell with no other inmates.

 Drug paraphernalia was located in Taylor’s cell after a subsequent search of his jail cell, the sheriff’s department reported.

 The investigation is ongoing until results from the autopsy's toxicology report are available.


This is the sixth death of an inmate while in the custody of the sheriff’s department, in a year’s time span.


The first death was that of Craig Prescott, 38, of Modesto on April 11, 2009. Prescott died after struggling with deputies and being shot with a Taser. A cause of death was determined to be hypertensive heart disease with a contributing factor of moderate cardiovascular strain from heightened physical activity. Prescott’s family has filed a $10 million lawsuit against the county.


On Aug. 26, 2009, Manuel Dent was found dead at the jail. Dent had been shot with a Taser by Modesto police officers during his arrest in an attempt to keep him from swallowing a bindle of narcotics. A cause of death was attributed to an overdose of narcotics.


Weeks later Alton Warren Ham, 45, of Oklahoma was found dead in his cell on Sept. 16, 2009. Ham was shot with a Taser when he fought with deputies who were trying to move him to another cell. A coroner’s report stated Ham had an enlarged heart which may have contributed to his death. His family has filed a claim against the county.


On Jan. 17, jail staff found Ronald Schade, 53, of Modesto dead in a cell he shared with other inmates. Schade’s body had no signs of a struggle and no force was used against him during his arrest.

 A month later Leslee Gutirrez, 37, of Modesto was found dead at the Public Safety Center. A cause of death was attributed to a methadone overdose. Her family recently stated they are planning to file a lawsuit against the county.To contact Sabra Stafford, e-mail or call 634-9141 ext. 2002.