Autopsy inconclusive in Ford County inmate death
UPDATED 5:20 p.m. Wednesday.
PAXTON — An inmate found dead in his cell at the Ford County Jail early Wednesday morning possibly died from a medical issue, but the cause of death remains undetermined, Coroner Doug Wallace said.
“We have no findings yet,” Wallace said Wednesday afternoon, following an autopsy performed by a forensic pathologist at the Kankakee County Morgue.
Correctional officers found Richard J. Gonzalez, 30, of Hoopeston, dead at about 4 a.m. Wednesday, according to a news release from Ford County Sheriff Mark Doran. Wallace said Mr. Gonzalez was found dead in a single-person cell.
Wallace said there is “a possibility there was a medical issue” that factored into Mr. Gonzalez’s death, but he said he will not be able to determine the cause of death until he receives toxicology results and medical records from the jail’s medical personnel and Mr. Gonzalez’s family.
Earlier Wednesday, Doran said in his news release that Gonzalez had been evaluated by medical staff, but he did not say for what.
Wallace said suicide has been ruled out, and Doran said no foul play is suspected.
“At this early stage of the investigation, it appears Gonzalez died of natural causes, and no foul play is suspected at this time,” Doran said in the release.
An investigation is ongoing by the Illinois State Police, the Illinois Department of Corrections and the Ford County coroner’s office.
Gonzalez was awaiting transfer to the Department of Corrections. He had been sentenced on May 14 to four years in prison for stealing $3,000 from a Paxton bank through a fraudulent ATM transaction.
State’s Attorney Matt Fitton Gonzalez opened an account at the Farmers-Merchants National Bank in Paxton, and shortly after he had received an ATM card, he used an ATM to have his account credited with a $3,000 deposit. However, the money was never received by the bank, and by the time the bank noticed that, Gonzales had used an ATM to withdraw the funds from his account, Fitton said.