Local News

County jail inmate found dead

—A Highlands County Jail inmate was found dead Monday morning, with a bed sheet tightly wrapped around his neck, authorities said.

Detention deputies found Jesus G. Avitia, 25, with an address on Seventh Street, Sebring, unresponsive at approximately 8:30 a.m. Monday, Sheriff Susan Benton said in a news release.

The first detention deputies on scene began CPR; jail medical staff was “summoned and arrived within seconds,” Benton added.

Emergency Medical Services was called, and Avitia was taken to Highlands Regional Medical Center where he was pronounced dead, Benton said.

Benton said Avitia was in jail stemming from an incident that occurred July 18.

At that time his ex-girlfriend called deputies requesting assistance because Avitia was at her home and he was very intoxicated, she added.

When deputies arrived, Avitia was no longer at the home, Benton said, however he was found shortly after hiding behind an air-conditioner at a home next door to the complainant.

He was arrested for trespassing.

“Avitia was released on July 2, 2014 from Immigrations and Customs Enforcement in Miami after posting a bond,” the news release adds.

Highlands County sheriff’s detectives and crime scene unit members are investigating the incident.

“Once the criminal investigation is concluded, the sheriff’s office will, in accordance with our general orders, conduct an administrative review by Internal Affairs,” the sheriff’s office said.

“This review evaluates all policy and procedures to ensure compliance during this incident. At the conclusion of this review, the results will be a part of the public record,” the news release adds.

Last June, Highlands County Jail inmate Scott Alexander Wilkie had been found dead from what authorities said at that time was an apparent suicide.

Last March, a 42-year-old prisoner had been pronounced dead in his cell in the medical unit of the Highlands County jail, authorities said then.