Inmate who collapsed in jail cell suffered heart failure: autopsy

SAN DIEGO — Postmortem examinations determined that an inmate who collapsed two months ago in a cell at San Diego Central Jail and died a short time later succumbed to heart failure, the sheriff’s department reported Monday.

Michael Richard Wilson, 32, was stricken at the Front Street detention center on the morning of Feb. 14.

“Deputies responded to the cell and saw (the) inmate in apparent medical distress,” Lt. Michael Blevins said. “The man did not appear injured, but soon after deputies entered the cell to help (him), they noticed he was unresponsive.”

Wilson, who was in custody on an assault charge, was pronounced dead a hospital about an hour later.

Homicide detectives were called in to investigate the fatality, which is standard protocol in cases involving in-custody deaths.

Following an autopsy, the county Medical Examiner’s Office concluded that Wilson died of natural causes — congestive heart failure and hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, an ailment that affects the heart muscle.

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