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Utah Attorney General Investigates Death At Duchesne County Jail

The Utah Attorney General’s office is investigating the death of a 21-year-old woman who died while in custody at the Duchesne County Jail last December.

Madison Jensen was booked in Duchesne County Jail on drug and paraphernalia charges. A Utah Medical Examiner’s report shows she was 129 pounds when she arrived on November 27th and lost between 17 and 40 pounds when she died four days later. The report had conflicting numbers. The medical examiner determined she died of natural causes as a result of complications of dehydration during opiate withdrawal. 

In a statement, Dan Burton, a spokesperson for the office of the Utah Attorney General said the Duchesne County Attorney asked the Attorney General’s Office to investigate Jensen’s death to determine whether any charges should be filed. Burton said the office is cooperating with the Uintah County Attorney to review the case.

Shane Severson is with the Utah Prisoner Advocate Network. He works with inmate families to help them advocate for their incarcerated loved ones.

“When somebody is going through withdrawals, they should be following the state’s best practices. But they give a lot of leeway for what the individual county Sheriff’s establish there. So we advocate for much more consistency.”

The Federal Bureau of Prisons has outlined detoxification guidelines for inmates experiencing withdraw. County jails, however aren’t subject to federal or state guidelines. 

Whittney Evans grew up southern Ohio and has worked in public radio since 2005. She has a communications degree from Morehead State University in Morehead, Kentucky, where she learned the ropes of reporting, producing and hosting. Whittney moved to Utah in 2009 where she became a reporter, producer and morning host at KCPW. Her reporting ranges from the hyper-local issues affecting Salt Lake City residents, to state-wide issues of national interest. Outside of work, she enjoys playing the guitar and getting to know the breathtaking landscape of the Mountain West.
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