top of page

People who have died in the Cuyahoga County Jail 

This is a list of people from our community who have died within or immediately as a result of their time within the Cuyahoga County Jail. Our hearts grieve for each of these community members, and we offer the deepest sympathy to the families and friends of those who have lost a loved one due to the negligence and misconduct of the staff in the jail. Nothing we can say or do will return the precious lives of our community. We offer this list so that readers may understand some element of depth of the inhumanity of our county jail. We are grieved in knowing that while death is the ultimate wrong the county has perpetrated against those incarcerated, there are many more kinds of injustice and inhumanity that go undocumented, unspoken, uncared for — it is our greatest hope not just for justice, but to end these unnecessary acts of cruelty.


Below is a chronological list that began in 2018, when the Jail Coalition began tracking death in the jail. If you have information about people who died in the Cuyahoga County Jail prior to this time, or information about people who died in the jail since 2018 who are not currently listed here, please reach out to us at


Even so, there is reason to believe that this is not a complete list, as the sheriff’s department has been suspected of trying to evacuate people who are unwell within the jail to offsite locations very shortly before they die so that it is not reported as a death in the jail.  We are concerned that this may have been used to obscure deaths that occurred during the most acute phases of the COVID-19 pandemic, when the medical system was overwhelmed and the jail was receiving less scrutiny.  


We have attempted to share what was publicly available to uplift the humanity of the people who died within the jails. It is notable that news reporters on the lives of those who have died in the jail since 2020 have largely failed to report anything at all about the lives–or deaths-of our community members. It is wrong that the news has largely failed to interview families of those victimized by the jail, and that the few, scant news articles about jail deaths are locked behind paywalls so that few can access the information. In this way, those who have died are being done a great disservice by our Cuyahoga County media landscape, a problem that seriously impedes the quest for justice and makes it harder for us to truly understand how each of our community members’ lives mattered: and they surely did.


The reasons for each death are those officially released by the County Medical Examiner’s office, typically many months after the death occurred.  It is always worth asking: what is the real story here? What is the larger story? Some causes of death are suspicious or require additional context – for instance, why would a young person with no medical history suddenly die of heart failure? It is worth asking where in the system the negligence and culpability lie. Readers will see a pattern in these stories, one largely related to jail staff’s failed intake processes and failed policies towards medical and mental health assessment and care. Another obvious line of questions about culpability arise when we look at the rising number of overdose deaths: we ask,  how are people supplied with drugs in the jail? Why have there been no charges or changes on this issue? Surely if we as lay readers can see the patterns and problems arise just from these stories, the people charged with running this f


Another note is that specific charges are not on this list.  Most were awaiting trial for non-violent charges but a handful were accused of violent crimes, including partner violence, murder, and sexual assault.  We at the jail coalition know that all people deserve humane treatment – no one is the sum total of the charges against them – and nothing can justify the negligent and unsafe conditions of confinement and death listed in these remembrances.  

Last updated December 2023

Theodore Carter, 55 years old, died June 10, 2018: Carter felt chest pains in the jail and then rapidly deteriorated upon being rushed to Metrohealth.  He died in custody at the hospital due to complications of myelofibrosis, a serious bone marrow condition.  It is unclear if the jail administration was aware he had this condition. story here.


Larry Johnson, 51 years old, died July 1, 2018: There were clear warning signs that Johnson was at risk for self harm, but they were ignored by corrections officers and corrections officers were later found to have not conducted required 15 minute checks on those incarcerated on the day Johnson died. Johnson is the first of three community members to hang themselves in the Cuyahoga County Jail in 2018. Johnson’s mother, sued the county, MetroHealth and officials at both entities in federal court in Cleveland. The family settled for $550,000. Article on his death. Article on the lawsuit.


Esteban Parra, 32 years old,  June 27, 2018. Shortly after Parra was brought into the jail, he began vomiting and experiencing hallucinations and was found to be “extremely high” during a medical examination, but was sent back to his cell until a half day later when his condition got worse and he was taken to the hospital.  Parra died four days later at the hospital. The medical examiner ruled he died from a methamphetamine overdose. Article about his death here.


Joseph Arquillo, 47 years old. Died Aug. 28, 2018. Arquillo was booked and brought into a cell that was so overpopulated he was forced to sleep on a mat on the ground. He met with medical personnel in the jail, but was returned to his mat within 15 minutes.  Surveillance video showed Arquillo returned to his mat, in clear view of other inmates and corrections officers. He then slumped over in an unnatural position and didn’t move for more than two hours before anyone checked on him.  A corrections officer, Martin Devring, whose duties that day included checking on each inmate in his pod every 15 minutes, walked up to his mat, kicked it, and walked away, the video shows.  Cuyahoga County refused to release the video and only did so only when filed a public records complaint in the Ohio Court of Claims. Then Warden Eric Ivey ordered officers to turn off their body cameras and delete body camera footage in the moments after Arquillo died, in order avoid a lawsuit. Both Devring and the Warden Eric Ivey were convicted for negligence and falsifying records by the state attorney general in connection with this death, and the family settled for $850,000. Arquillo’s death was due to an overdose, his autopsy revealed. Article about the death. Article about the trial.


Gregory Fox, 36 years old. Died August 30, 2018. Upon intake into the jail, Fox told jail staff he had a history of mental illness and self harm but he was not properly evaluated, and thus the staff failed to put him on suicide watch.  Fox hug himself a week after entering the jail and died at the hospital. A lawyer for the family said, “It was one of the worst cases of deliberate indifference I’ve seen. It was a terrible tragedy that never should have happened.” The family received a $950,000 settlement from the county. Article about the settlement here.


Randall Kain, 46 years old. Died Aug. 31, 2018. died of a fentanyl overdose, was actually in the Euclid Jail, supposedly a more rehabilitative facility for non-violent charges.  Details about Kain here.


Allan Roman Gomez, 44 years old. Died October 2, 2018:  Gomez could have been released with a posted bond of $150. He was being housed in an area where one guard was responsible two different areas, and had been locked down for a long period of time in a practice called “red zoning,” which jail officials used when they let the jail get too overcrowded. Gomez hung himself during a red zoning lockdown. Details about Gomez here.


Brenden Kiekisz, 27 years old. Died  December 30, 2018.  In  his last call to his family, Kiekisz told them that he feared he would not make it out alive. Kiekisz had been arrested on Christmas day and  had a severe mental health diagnosis but was never given medication or flagged as a potential suicide risk despite telling jail officials of his an attempt at self harm just days before his arrest. Jail officials had recently changed the police for screenings. According to, “ Instead of giving inmates medical screenings during the booking process, [Jail officials] Mills and Ivey decided to have corrections officers record inmates’ preliminary medical information and send them to see nurses on a different floor. That decision caused hundreds of inmates to go without a full medical screening. Jail medical staff, in emails previously obtained by, repeatedly pleaded with county officials to change the procedure. The calls were met with no response.Ivey told investigators that Mills made the decision to change the process in order to cut down on paying overtime to corrections officers. Mills was convicted at trial of several charges related to his mismanagement at the jail and was sentenced to nine months in prison.” More info here. Information about the settlement here.


Nicholas Colbert, 36 years old. Died May 10, 2019: Colbert was a National Guard Veteran who had struggled for many years with opiod addiction stemming from a prescription for an injury. At intake, Colbert told jail officials about a recent overdose and previous attempts to kill himself. He was given no medical treatment and was not put on suicide watch, even though upon booking he had shown, “obvious symptoms of someone despondent and in despair.” He was never searched and snuck a drawstring into the jail, which he later used to kill himself. Jail staff failed to make the required 15 minute checks, and Colbert was found unresponsive only after people were let out of their cells but Colbert did not respond. The family filed a wrongful death suit. More information here. 


Michael Wormick, 52 years old. Died on July 8, 2020. Workmick was a person who had mental health issues throughout his adult life and sometimes lived unhoused in the Cleveland area. He was a prime candidate for a diversion center, but there was none at the time. It is unclear what, if any, treatment Wormick received during his two weeks in the jail. Wormick was found unresponsive in his cell only a few hours after trying to call his sister. He had no known medical issues, and his cause of death was inconclusive for a long time, and then named as “ “Ischemic cardiovascular disease with dilated cardiomegaly.” More information here.


Lea Rayshon Daye, 28 years old. Died August 30, 2020.. Day was a transgender woman worked at a local homeless shelter. While in jail she wrote a letter about the transphobia she experienced within the criminal justice system and deplorable conditions in the jail. He letter was found by her mother after her death.  She was dead named and misgendered by the county when they released her name, which caused a national outcry from human rights groups.  Medical examiner determined that Day’s cause of death was acute intoxication by fentanyl, citalopram,  and doxepin.  Her cellmate Christopher Neal had smuggled the substances into the jail, and was charged with involuntary manslaughter in connection with her death. More on the investigation of her death. HRC’s statement on her death. 


Shone Trawick, 48 years old. Died November 9, 2020. Trawick was a car mechanic who loved to spend his free time with his grandchildren. He was in the jail for a six month misdemeanor sentence and had a history of mental illness, and was  beaten to death by his cellmate Edmond Hightower, who was a person with serious mental illness and a long history of violent incidents and who was in jail due to a recent violent encounter shortly after his release from prison. The jail should not have put Hightower in the General Population area. The family received a $1.1 million settlement.


Jose Irizarry, 40 years old. Died Nov. 12, 2020. Irizarry had written letters, sometimes incoherent, to his family while in jail. He had said he had nightmares about being killed almost daily and reported being given pills without information about what he was taking. He had a  schizophrenia and bipolar diagnosis. He called his brother to say he was going to be released from the jail, but he was never given a chance to call his family to ask to pick him up, and jail officials did not call either. Irizarry was released from the County Jail in the middle of a windy, cold winter night with an ankle monitor, a dead cell phone, and no coat.  His ankle monitor stopped working at 2:30am, and the next day police went to the place where the monitor last recorded – a dock on Whiskey Island – and found what they believed to be a body in the water. Due to unsafe wind conditions, firefighters could not collect the body, and when conditions improved it was gone. It took two years for Irizarry’s remains to be recovered. More information here and here.


Michael Brewer, 47 years old. Died May 28, 2021. Brewer died of Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma while in the care of the Hospice of the Western Reserve but still under the custody of the sheriff’s department.   It’s unclear if the jail was aware of his condition before he was booked. More information here and here.


William Haines, 64 years old. Died December 17, 2021. Haines was a jail corrections officer who died of COVID-19 in the jail within the same four-day period as Samuel Foster. At this time, more than 800 people were isolated in cells and 147 people were positive with COVID-19. More information here.


Samuel Foster, 67 years old. Died December 20, 2021. Foster died of COVID-19 contracted at the jail. At this time, more than 800 people were isolated in cells and 147 people were positive with COVID-19. More information here.


Adam Weakley, 30 years old. Died January 15, 2022. Weakley had previously been found unfit to stand trial multiple times due to mental health needs. The Plain Dealer said Weakley had severe mental and physical health issues and had been “down for hours” before he was found unconscious. He died from  “heart failure from hypertensive and ischemic cardiovascular disease” only four days after arriving at the jail.  More information here.


Shondo Moffitt, 39 years old. Died April 11, 2022. Moffitt, a hardworking man who had four young children. He was undergoing treatment for kidney cancer at the time of his arrest on non-violent charges and his appeal for medical release was denied by Judge Kathy Sutula only two weeks before his death.  He laid down at 11:30am and was not found for 30 minutes, even though jail officials are supposed to check every 15. Initial reports indicated that he was found near a “white powdery substance” but his wife said he never did drugs and the investigator had told her himself that he saw no powder. The County Medical Examiner later announced his death as due to heart failure. More information here,  here and here.


Warren Johnson, 45 years old. Died July 3, 2022. Johnson was a jail correction officer who was diabetic and died because his supervisors refused to give him breaks to check his blood sugar level checks. His last shift was 16 hours, and he was rushed to the hospital with glucose levels five times normal. He died two weeks later. The family of Johnson has opened a lawsuit claiming a workplace ADA violation. More information here.


Ashraf Hasan Nabeel Aljaf, 33 years old. Died October 11, 2022. Aljaf  allegedly “fell ill” while in police custody and passed away before being booked into the jail.  Medical examiner attributed it to “acute cocaine and methamphetamine toxicity.” More information here.


Melissa Musson, 47 years old. Died November 1, 2022. Musson was found in distress in her cell. He death was ruled accidental by acute intoxication by cocaine, fentanyl, protonitazene (a synthetic opioid), and morphine. More information here.


Mark Lorenzo Turner, Jr., 32 years old. Died November 1, 2022. Turner died from acute intoxication of several prescription drugs, including pain and anxiety medications.  The medical examiner’s office said he had substances in his system that matched drugs for irritable bowel syndrome, alcohol and opioid dependency, and depression. In November 2023, Turner’s family began a wrongful death suit against the jail the jail’s medical director, Dr. Joseph Baskin, of negligence, allegedling they prescribed a deadly combination of medications for Turner. More information here and here.


Edrick H. Brooks, 56 years old. Died December 9, 2022. Brooks was a father of five. He had been booked in the jail less than 24 hours before he died. His cause of death was ruled as high blood pressure and heart disease. More information here.


Nathan Myers, 26 years old. Died September July 17, 2023.  The medical examiner has yet release a cause of death suspected overdose. Myers was one of nine people  in a 24 hour period who died in the county due to suspected overdose, causing the county to issue a public health alert. More information here and here.


August 19-20, 2023: A still unnamed man was reported to have died on August 20th, 2023 by the twitter account of Ed Gallek a Fox 8 Reporter.  


Elving Lopez (Gutierrez), 52 years old. Died September 12, 2023. Lopez was a recent father whose baby girl was the joy of his life. According to his partner, Elving Lopez was allegedly left unattended in a jail medical pod for more than 12 hours, and the doctor attending to him said that he had been brain dead for hours before anyone found him. We know that Elving had a history of heart issues and was also receiving methadone treatment. It is possible that if he wasn't given his medication by Cuyahoga County jail staff, then he could have gone into withdrawal, which could have triggered a heart attack. We will likely not know for several months what the medical examiner finds. More info here.


Freddie Tackett, 47 years old. Died Friday, Oct. 6, 2023. Tackett was a beloved father, grandfather, uncle, great uncle, brother-in-law, and cherished friend to many. He leaves behind a fiance, four children, and three grandchildren. He loved spending time with his family, fishing, hunting, four wheeling, and music.  Tackett’s official cause of death has not been released, but there may be reason to suspect foul play. The Cleveland Plain Dealer has written only that “The Cuyahoga County Sheriff’s Department is collaborating with the Cleveland Division of Police and the Cuyahoga County medical examiner’s office on investigating the matter.”  Allegedly, there is surveillance camera footage of the possible incident that led to the death of Freddie Tackett, but the Sheriff's department has not released the footage. The Sheriff’s department has also not acknowledged publicly why the Division of Police is now involved in investigating the death of a person who was reported to have died of a supposed “medical incident.”  Read more here.


Rogelio (Cubano) Latorre, 25 years old. Died November 16, 2023. According to court records on November 15, Latorre went into Judge Joan Synenbert’s court and rejected a plea deal, and was then granted a referral by court to substance use assessment, medical assessment, and referral to a court psychiatric clinic. According to court documents, “defendant has a psychotic disorder or intellectual function below I.Q. of 75” and thus was eligible for mental health court.” There are no records of Latorre receiving substance use assessments, medical assessments, or assessments by the psychiatric clinic.  One day later, on November 16, reported, “guards and medical staff began giving first aid to Rogelio Latorre of Cleveland shortly after 3:45 p.m. Paramedics took him to MetroHealth Medical Center, where he later died. The circumstances of his death were not disclosed.” Latorre, whose legal last name was Cubano, was not given the correct legal name in the medical examiner’s report and thus it became difficult for news media and civil rights groups to find out about his life. Initial reports by wrote that “It is unclear why Latorre was in the jail. Local and federal court dockets do not list him, and county spokespersons did not return messages seeking comment.”

 Cuyahoga County 

bottom of page