Notice of Inmate Death at the Santa Barbara County Northern Branch Jail

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Santa Maria, Calif. – On Friday, September 9, 2022, at 10:48 pm., 35-year-old Kristina Marie Chermak of Santa Barbara, died at the Santa Barbara County Northern Branch Jail. Chermak was arrested by the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office in Isla Vista on March 5, 2022, for burglary (felony), and possession of stolen property (misdemeanor). Chermak was ordered by the Court to remain in custody pending transportation to the Department of State Hospitals for restoration of mental competency to stand trial.  

On Friday, September 9, 2022, at approximately 10:04 p.m., custody deputies conducted a security check of Chermak’s cell where she was housed alone and noted no issues. At approximately 10:27 p.m., a nurse conducting medication distribution noticed Chermak was unresponsive. Staff immediately began attempts to resuscitate Chermak and called for an emergency medical response. Wellpath medical, County Fire and American Medical Response all responded, but sadly, lifesaving measures were unsuccessful, and Chermak was declared dead.

Coroner’s detectives are investigating this death. Consistent with standard procedures for the Sheriff’s Office, investigators from the Criminal Investigation Bureau and Administrative Investigation team were called in to investigate the circumstances of this jail death.  So far, this death does not appear suspicious, but the cause of death is not immediately obvious and will require an autopsy to assist in the determination. Chermak’s next-of-kin have been notified. 


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