TBI investigates Marion County jail inmate's death

File photo by Ryan Lewis / The Marion County Justice Center is in Jasper, Tenn.
File photo by Ryan Lewis / The Marion County Justice Center is in Jasper, Tenn.

The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation is looking into the death of a 37-year-old female inmate who died after collapsing Sunday at the Marion County Justice Center in Jasper, Tennessee.

Marion County Sheriff Ronnie "Bo" Burnett said inmate Crystal Thurman had been arrested Jan. 29 on a probation violation warrant related to a joy riding charge.

Burnett said Thurman was found with suspected methamphetamine and drug paraphernalia in her possession when she was booked into the jail Sunday and that resulted in an additional felony allegation against her for introduction of contraband into a penal institution.

During intake, Thurman answered "no" to the routine medical questions posed to all inmates as they are booked in, Burnett said. Those questions and answers were part of materials and information turned over to the TBI, he said.

"On Sunday she had seen the nurse at the jail about some issues," he said. Burnett didn't describe the nature of Thurman's conversation with the nurse.

"She was put in the female unit and Sunday night about 9:30 [CST] she collapsed," Burnett said.

"The staff did CPR and they continued CPR until the EMTs arrived, and they took over CPR and transported her to Parkridge West [Hospital]," he said. "A short time later they pronounced her dead."

Meanwhile, the state investigation is continuing and results from an autopsy are pending, TBI spokesperson Susan Niland said via email. Niland said the state agency took up the probe Sunday but she was unable to provide further details.

"The medical examiner's office in Nashville will perform the autopsy to determine the cause of death," she said.

There was no timeline on when those results might be released.

Contact Ben Benton at bbenton@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6569. Follow him on Twitter @BenBenton or at www.facebook.com/benbenton1.

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