DAYTON — The Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office is still awaiting the final findings of a risk management report conducted after the death of Raymond A. Walters, however Sheriff Rob Streck said no wrong-doing or policy changes are expected from the findings.
>>PREVIOUS REPORT: Investigation into in-custody death of Raymond Walters nears completion
News Center 7′s Mike Campbell spoke with Streck following the findings of the Montgomery County Coroner’s Office this week that ruled Walters died while in custody after a drug overdose. Walters, 34, died in November awaiting trial on charges from a 2019 crime spree, accused of stabbing a family member, crashing a truck, stealing a Riverside police cruiser, then crashing that cruiser into another vehicle killing two 6-year-old girls, Penelope Jasko of Dayton and Eleanor McBride of Huber Heights.
Streck said the sheriff’s office is awaiting the findings which looked at all the incidents before and after Walters death to determine if anything could have been done differently. Streck noted there were no sheriff’s office employees who were being investigated and no allegations of any wrong-doing are part of this investigation.
“Our employees did a very good job when Mr. Walters knocked on the door and said ‘hey I need help, I’m in danger’ and started to have delusions,” Streck said. “I don’t think we’re going to have any employee misconduct, anything like that.”
Sheriff’s office investigative records, obtained in a News Center 7 public records request, detail deputies talking with inmates after Walters requested help. Inmates reported Walters was “acting strange,” sweating profusely, and might have received drugs from another inmate placed in the same 12-person cell just days before.
After Walters had been seen by jail medical staff he was transported to Miami Valley Hospital where he later died. Before going to the hospital, jail and medical staff noted Walters was “very uncooperative” while receiving medical care and was showing signs of obvious drug use, records show.
A search of Walters before he was placed in an ambulance found a small plastic bag in his underwear that contained an unknown white powder substance. Searches of his cell and bunk area also found a bag and a small piece of paper with powder on it as well, investigative records show.
Coroner’s office investigators ruled Walters died from meth intoxication and his death was ruled accidental.
Deputies conducted a criminal investigation to determine how the meth got into the jail, however deputies have not made a determination based on the evidence recovered.
“At this point we do not have any evidence that points to who would have brought the drugs inside the cell,” Streck said.
Two inmates in the same 12-person cell accused another inmate of bringing the drugs in, however Streck said the evidence wasn’t strong enough for charges to be filed.
“We believe that someone was just able to use their body to get drugs that should not be in our jail in our jail,” he said.
Streck noted jail staff are facing a “constant battle” keeping drugs and other illegal substances out of the jail, part of which has to do with the jail’s location in downtown Dayton.
“We are one of the few jails in the State of Ohio that has no security around it,” Streck said.
Streck added most correctional facilities have a lot of security and distance between public areas and where inmates can be for recreation areas. However in the last few years the sheriff’s office and county have worked to prevent drugs entering the facility through upgrades and new technology.
Thousands of dollars from the county were invested in making the walls of the jail higher that surround the jail pods to prevent drugs from getting inside. In addition, the jail continues to use body scans for every person arrested before they are placed in cells.
“The body scanner is great, it helps with weapons, it helps with larger amounts of drugs. It is still a technology that is evolving because people being arrested and brought to the county jail are different than people who are being sent to prison,” Streck said.
“We do not strip search people coming into our jail. We do not do body cavity searches for people coming into our jail.”
“The main way drugs get into our jails are people putting them in their bodies or placing them in areas that are not checked by sight.”
Streck called the jail a “smaller mirror” of the community, saying the substance abuse problems in the community as a whole are also dealt with inside the jail walls.
“We know we have a very large problem with substance abuse in Montgomery County, and its just a constant battle trying to keep those drugs out of our jail,” he said.
While Walter’s death highlights that overdoses and substance abuse are still issues within the jail walls, Streck noted that over the last few years the number of overdoses by inmates have declined significantly.
“(Around 2017) It was terrifying how many overdoses we were having on the first floor and some of that would make it into the housing units,” he said.
Walters had been held in a “rollover” 12-person housing cell for months prior to his death in November and Streck noted deputies had no issues with him before his death.
“He did nothing throughout his stay with us that caused us any concerns. Besides being in that 12 person cell, there was no issues with fighting, with any type of theft or anything like that with him.”
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