Hospitalized inmate died of cancer, autopsy says

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SAN DIEGO — Postmortem examinations determined that a jail inmate who fell gravely ill while in custody at Vista Detention Facility and died in a hospital about a month later succumbed to cancer, authorities reported Tuesday.

Derek Oak King, 45, died Feb. 16 while on life support in an intensive care unit, according to sheriff’s officials.

King — who had been in custody since November 2017 on a slate of charges, including attempted murder, torture, elder abuse, assault with a deadly weapon and issuing criminal threats — was transferred from jail to a trauma center on Jan. 25 for treatment of a “pre-existing serious medical condition,” Lt. Michael Blevins said.

Following an autopsy, the county Medical Examiner’s Office ruled that King died of metastatic colon cancer.

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