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Inmate found dead in Pima County Jail cell

A 27-year-old man was found unresponsive in a cell at the Pima County Jail early Sunday. Hector Francisco Medrano was declared dead after lifesaving measures were unsuccessful.

Medrano was "discovered... unresponsive" in a cell at the Adult Detention Complex before 4 a.m., a Pima County Sheriff's Department spokesman said.

"Lifesaving measures were attempted by correctional officers, medical staff, and Tucson Fire Department personnel," said Deputy James Allerton. "The attempts were unsuccessful and the inmate was pronounced deceased."

Allerton did not provide details about Medrano's condition, saying that the investigation is "ongoing."

Jail and court records indicate Medrano was being held pending $10,000 bond.

Records from Pima County Superior Court were unavailable Sunday afternoon, because the Clerk of Court website was down, but Medrano made an appearance in South Tucson Municipal Court on Thursday in relation to two cases in which arrest warrants had been issued because he failed to appear.

Those cases involve shoplifting charges from March 2020 and theft by control and criminal trespassing charges from April.

Medrano's available court record includes nearly 60 criminal cases over the past decade, with charges ranging from possession of drug paraphernalia to other shoplifting cases, along with criminal damage and trespassing charges. Many were dismissed after court maneuvering.

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In addition to the cases filed by the city of South Tucson, Medrano had active cases on the Superior Court docket, with a status hearing set for September 16.

Recent jail deaths

Other recent deaths at the Adult Detention Complex, 1270 W. Silverlake Rd., include the June death of Ricardo Duran, 32, who was awaiting sentencing in an attempted armed robbery.

Duran's death was not announced by the Pima County Sheriff's Department. A PCSD spokeswoman confirmed it after TucsonSentinel.com inquired based on a tip from a source.

Duran's death was later determined to be the result of a drug overdose.

In August, 38-year-old Evan Hizer died at the jail just days after his probation was revoked and he was sentenced to 2.5 years behind bars.

Last November, the death of an inmate, Francisco Ruiz, during a "use-of-force encounter" with Pima County jail guards was kept under wraps for days, until after TucsonSentinel.com published a news report about it.

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The Pima County Adult Detention Center