Seventh Lompoc Inmate Dies in Nine Months

Authorities Won’t Say If COVID-19 Is the Suspected Cause

Credit: Courtesy

A 46-year-old inmate of the federal prison complex in Lompoc died Tuesday, officials said, marking the seventh inmate death at the facility in nine months. Five of the deaths were linked to the massive COVID-19 outbreak there last spring. The sixth remains under investigation, and federal officials have offered few details on the most recent case. 

Fermin Maldonado-Lopez was found unresponsive by staff at around 6:45 a.m., the Bureau of Prisons (BOP) said in a press release. Attempts to revive him failed, and emergency responders declared him dead at the scene. Maldonado-Lopez was serving a 63-month sentence for illegally reentering the United States after he’d previously been deported. He’d been in custody since August 13, 2018.

The section of the prison where Maldonado-Lopez was housed is currently in the throes a second COVID-19 outbreak, with 36 active cases among inmates and six among staff.

The BOP and the Lompoc facility have been widely criticized, by both the public and members of Congress, for failing to adequately respond to the ongoing health crisis within its walls. The ACLU has filed a lawsuit alleging delays and failures to act created a “medical and humanitarian crisis” that at its peak infected more than 1,000 inmates and staff. An inspection by the Department of Justice blamed bad policies and poor leadership for the deadly outbreaks.

Across the BOP system, nearly 40,000 inmates and 3,800 staff have contracted COVID-19; 200 inmates and three staff have died.

Every day, the staff of the Santa Barbara Independent works hard to sort out truth from rumor and keep you informed of what’s happening across the entire Santa Barbara community. Now there’s a way to directly enable these efforts. Support the Independent by making a direct contribution or with a subscription to Indy+.


Please note this login is to submit events or press releases. Use this page here to login for your Independent subscription

Not a member? Sign up here.