Gresham, Ore. – Multnomah County Sheriff Nicole Morrisey O’Donnell issued a community letter addressing the recent deaths in custody within the county’s correctional facilities. The letter emphasizes the commitment to identifying and implementing solutions to prevent such incidents and achieve collective health and safety goals.
The letter shares the findings of the Multnomah County Medical Examiner regarding the manner of death for several individuals dating back to 2022:
- Jess Rivas-Castillo, 36 – Date of death: May 9, 2022, Manner of death: Accident, acute cocaine poisoning.
- Stephen Wayne Murphy, 63 – Date of death: July 26, 2022, Manner of death: Natural.
- Kenneth L. Hurley, 55 – Date of death: November 19, 2022, Manner of death: Natural.
- Donovan Anthony Wood, 26 – Date of death: May 2, 2023, Manner of death: Suicide.
- Martin Todd Franklin, 58 – Date of death: June 16, 2023, Manner of death: Suicide.
The Medical Examiner is still investigating the following cases:
- George Allen Walker, 31 – Date of death: May 13, 2023.
- Josiah G. Pierce, 31 – Date of death: July 19, 2023.
- Kashi Abram Harmon, 53 – Date of death: June 22, 2023.
- Clemente Pineda, 36 – Date of death: August 1, 2023.
Sheriff O’Donnell highlighted both short-term and mid-to-long-term strategies that are being implemented to address the issue. These include modifications to facilities to increase safety, expanded availability of Narcan to combat overdoses, increased scope of contraband searches, and efforts to investigate and hold accountable those introducing contraband into jails.
The Sheriff also mentioned plans for future technology solutions, such as providing tablets to adults in custody to offer educational and rehabilitative programs and communication options.
Sheriff O’Donnell acknowledged the challenge of contraband and its association with drug-related deaths. The Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office is actively collaborating with local, state, and federal partners to develop comprehensive strategies for better health and safety in jails.
The Medical Examiner’s Office continues to investigate the recent deaths in custody, with the findings to be shared with the public at a later date.