Man dies in Pima County jail from unknown cause

Perry Vandell
Arizona Republic
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Pima County

The Pima County Sheriff's Office announced that a man died in jail on Monday after a detention officer found him unresponsive in his cell.

Authorities said the officer noticed 61-year-old Jose Flores unresponsive around 10:15 p.m. Officers and eventually medical personnel attempted to resuscitate Flores before he was pronounced dead. Authorities said Flores showed no signs of trauma or suspicious circumstances.

Flores was booked into the jail on Jan. 16 on aggravated assault and terrorism charges. Officials say he was incarcerated in the jail's medical unit while recovering from a "major medical procedure."

The cause of death was not immediately known.

Deaths in Arizona jails

Across the state, The Arizona Republic found that at least once a month, someone dies during an arrest or in a county jail. These deaths rarely receive public attention.

Advocates and criminal-justice experts say discrepancies in reporting and investigating these in-custody deaths make it difficult to know how widespread a problem they are or to address the underlying causes.

In Arizona, The Republic found at least 64 cases in which a person died in a county jail or during an arrest between Jan. 1, 2017, and Aug. 4, 2020. On average, that means it happens every 21 days, based on The Republic's data.  

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