Kern County Sheriff's homicide investigators probing in-custody death

Officials: No obvious sign of trauma, foul play

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. - The Kern County Sheriff's Office are investigating an in-custody death Wednesday day.

On July 3, at about 1:30 a.m., officials said a deputy assigned to the Kern County Sheriff's Office Central Receiving Facility found a 51-year-old inmate, Ruben Ornelas, unresponsive in his jail cell.

According to officials, deputies and jail nursing staff administered CPR until the Bakersfield City Fire Department and Hall Ambulance arrived on scene.

Ornelas was taken by ambulance to Mercy Hospital where he was pronounced dead at 2:20 a.m.

Detectives were called out and began an investigation as a matter of in-custody death protocol. There were no obvious signs of trauma or foul play, officials said. An autopsy will be scheduled to determine the manner and cause of death.

Ornelas was arrested by the Bakersfield Police Department on July 1 for possession of heroin for sales and maintaining a home for narcotic sales. Orneals was booked at the Central Receiving Faciliy on July 1 at about 11:00 p.m. where he was processed and housed in a multiple person cell.

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