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Cause of death of inmate at San Diego central jail deferred

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Posted at 7:33 PM, Mar 19, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-19 22:33:57-04

SAN DIEGO (CNS) — An autopsy Saturday failed to immediately establish the cause of death of a 46-year-old inmate at San Diego Central Jail but more tests were pending.

Deputies staffing the downtown detention center found Lonnie Newton Rupard unconscious and unresponsive in his single-occupant cell about 10:45 p.m. Thursday, according to the San Diego County Sheriff's Department.

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Jail personnel tried in vain to revive Rupard prior to the arrival of paramedics, who took over the lifesaving attempts and transported him to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

Rupard, a National City resident, did not appear to have suffered any traumatic injuries, and investigators have found no evidence of suspicious circumstances in connection with his death, sheriff's Lt. Joel Stranger said.

The county Medical Examiner's Office conducted an autopsy and confirmed: "There were no signs of trauma and Rupard did not presumptively test positive for any illegal substances," Stranger said. "The cause and manner of death are pending laboratory results and further evaluation."

Rupard had been in county jail since Dec. 19, when National City police arrested him for allegedly violating the terms of his conditional release from state prison, where he had served a nearly two-year term stemming from a 2019 assault conviction, the lieutenant said.