OGDEN — A Weber County Jail inmate was being held in the medical unit when he hanged himself in a shower, an investigative report says.
The Weber County Sheriff's Office's report, obtained with a public records request, determined Casey James Berensen, 44, acted alone in the May 31 incident.
Berensen had no pulse and was not breathing when corrections deputies cut him down, but jail personnel performed CPR and the inmate had a pulse and was breathing again when Ogden City paramedics arrived about 10 minutes later, according to the report.
Berensen was taken by ambulance to an Ogden hospital and died there June 4.
Berensen was booked at the jail May 1, being held for the U.S. Marshal’s Service. Federal court records showed Berensen was indicted in November 2017 on charges of possessing and distributing child pornography.
Lt. Joshua Marigoni, corrections spokesman for the sheriff's office, declined to say Monday why Berensen was in a medical cell, citing federal medical privacy laws.
"There are a lot of different reasons why we have someone in a medical cell," Marigoni said. "It allows for constant observation of a person."
Inmates in medical cells are checked on more often, at least every 15 minutes, according to policy. The investigative report said a corrections deputy spoke to Berensen at 11:19 a.m. and she found him hanging at 11:33 a.m.
A review of security video showed Berensen "interacted with no one else in that 14 minutes," the report said. "He was found hanging by the neck from a vent in the shower. No other person could have been responsible in aiding or forcing him to do so."
Marigoni said Berensen was not on suicide watch.
On the shower wall, investigators found scrawled drawings of a pine tree and an Egyptian pyramid and several slogans, including "I wanna die."
The deputy who found Berensen held him up while another cut the homemade noose, the report said. Deputies and jail nurses performed CPR on the inmate until paramedics arrived at about 11:44 a.m.
Berensen's death was the first jail-related fatality in Weber County this year. The jail had one death in 2017 and two in 2016, according to public records.
Utah's county jails have been under heavy scrutiny since at least 25 people died while in custody in 2016, a record total. At least seven deaths were logged in 2017.
The Utah Legislature in March 2018 passed a law requiring counties to submit jail death reports to the state annually and to document how jails handle inmates who are addicted to narcotics or in withdrawal.
Those thinking of harming themselves have several resources available:
Weber Human Services emergency or crisis services, 801 625-3700.
National Suicide Prevention Hotline, 1-800-273-8255
National Alliance on Mental Illness Utah, 801-323-9900
Family Counseling Service of Northern Utah, 801-399-1600
Intermountain McKay-Dee Hospital Behavioral Health, 801-387-5600