Inmate Dies in Jail

Appears He Committed Suicide

Originally published 12:00 p.m., July 25, 2011
Updated 3:57 p.m., July 25, 2011

[UPDATE, 3:57 p.m.]: The Sheriff's Department released a statement this afternoon that says Rodriguez-Zepeda appears to have committed suicide. According to department spokesperson Drew Sugars, an autopsy is scheduled for this week, but toxicology results could take take an additional 3-4 four weeks. The investigation continues, he said.

Juan Rodriguez-Zepeda
Click to enlarge photo


Juan Rodriguez-Zepeda

[ORIGINAL REPORT]: A Lompoc man died in Santa Barbara County Jail Friday afternoon. Authorities do not know the cause of death, and said that while Sheriff’s detectives are investigating the incident, they do not believe foul play was involved.

A custody deputy discovered the body of Juan Rodriguez-Zepeda, 29, in a cell, unconscious and not breathing. He was alone in the single-person cell at the time.

Medics responded, but attempts to revive Rodriguez-Zepeda were unsuccessful.

The man had been in jail awaiting charges related to a head-on collision in heavy rain one night in mid March. He was suspected of driving drunk when his car smashed into another carrying three people, one of whom died.

The Sheriff’s Coroner’s Bureau will determine the cause of death.

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