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Two Inmates Found Dead in Okeechobee County Jail

Barnes - Abruzz.jpg
Okeechobee County Sheriff
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Both inmates were found in their cells during morning roll call. The Okeechobee County Sheriff's Office states in a a release posted on their website that "at this point, there are no indications that the deaths were connected." The cause of each death is now the subject of a coroner's investigation.

Okeechobee County - Monday September 19, 2022: Two inmates in the Okeechobee County Jail were found dead last week, a female inmate was declared dead a week ago Monday. A male inmate was found deceased the following day.

Both inmates were found in their cells during morning roll call. The Okeechobee County Sheriff's Office states in a release posted on their Facebook page that "at this point, there are no indications that the deaths were connected."

The cause of each death is now the subject of a coroner's investigation.

* Kaitlynn Joy Barnes: 19 year-old female inmate Kaitlynn Joy Barnes was found not breathing in her bunk during the morning roll call check on Monday September 12. CPR was attempted on Barnes by detention staff and then by emergency services, but to no avail. She was then pronounced deceased.

* Joseph Abruzzi: 60 year-old male inmate Joseph Abruzzi was found dead in his cell during roll call the next day, Tuesday September 13. He was declared deceased after it was determined that he was beyond the point of emergency intervention.

The Okeechobee County Sheriff release states that, "as a precaution", a K9 narcotics detection team searched both cells separately to determine if any drugs might have been involved in the deaths. "The K9 team found no presence of illegal substances," states the release..

Barnes had been in custody since May 18 after a probable cause warrant led detectives to charge her with Transmission of Child Porn, three counts of Possession of Child Porn, and three counts of Sex Acts Involving an Animal.

Abruzzi was jailed on August 9 after the Narcotics Task Force pulled over a vehicle he was driving. Abruzzi was subsequently arrested on charges of Possession of Cocaine with the intent to distribute, Possession of LSD with the intent to distribute, Possession of MDA with the intent to distribute, Possession of a Controlled Substance with the intent to distribute, Possession of Methamphetamine with the intent to distribute, Possession of ammunition by a convicted felon, Possession of a controlled substance, Possession of drug paraphernalia, Possession of marijuana under 20 grams and DUI.

The Okeechobee County Sheriff release states that they will release the coroner's report once it has been completed and that they will "remain transparent" throughout the course of the investigation.