Utah has the most jail deaths per capita in the nation,
according to the U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics. Weber and Davis counties are among the worst in the state, outstripping even more populous Salt Lake County in death rates, data gathered by the Standard-Examiner shows. The following story archive is the first part of a yearlong effort by the Standard-Examiner to report on the people behind the mugshots and how they died.

Stories on jail policies

Stories by jail

Select a button below to filter our coverage by jail.

Family still has questions about homeless man's December death in Weber jail
Friday, April 28, 2017

OGDEN — Isaura Martinez wonders why her son didn’t call. “My son always talked to me and told me everything, good or bad things.” Martinez said Wednesday, April 26.

Man suspected of faking mental illness in Weber jail before paralysis, death
Thursday, April 13, 2017

OGDEN — Matthew Ryan Hall, who was paralyzed after falling in a Weber County Jail cell, refused to take medication or participate in mental illness treatment prior to injuring himself, court records say.

Homeless man died in Weber jail in late 2016 - 23rd in-custody death since 2009
Friday, April 14, 2017

OGDEN — On Dec. 4, 2016, Jesus Gomez-Martinez walked into traffic on Wall Avenue after telling staff at the Lantern House homeless shelter that he was going to kill himself.

Ogden inmate not given IV, died of dehydration in Weber jail, attorney says
Sunday, February 19, 2017

OGDEN — Supporting a $300-a-day heroin habit got too expensive for Marion Herrera. Police arrested the 40-year-old Ogden woman on a check forgery allegation, and she died 3 ½ days later while withdrawing from the street drug in the Weber County Jail.

Investigator: No mistreatment or unfair prosecution against Matthew Stewart
Friday, March 28, 2014

OGDEN — An independent review has concluded there were no indications of mistreatment by jail staff or unduly biased adjudication against Matthew David Stewart leading up to the murder suspect’s May 24, 2013 suicide by hanging.

Timeline: The last days of Bosnian immigrant Amra Miletic
Monday, July 11, 2016

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security investigated the death of immigration detainee Amra Miletic, 47, who died March 20, 2011 after a 47-day stay at the Weber County Jail.

Man who admitted to killing a woman found dead in his cell
Tuesday, June 23, 2015

OGDEN --- The attorney for the man accused of murdering a Washington Terrace woman for money said he is not shocked to hear about his client’s death in jail.

Brother: Mentally ill man 'snapped' in Weber jail, harmed himself
Tuesday, April 18, 2017

OGDEN — A Disability Law Center attorney on Monday, April 17, challenged assertions that a jail inmate who died after a paralyzing fall had been faking mental illness.

Weber County jail report details some medical actions hours before fatality
Sunday, February 19, 2017

The Standard-Examiner received documents related to the investigation of Marion Herrera’s death through a Government Records Access Management Act (GRAMA) request. 

Claim filed over woman's death in Weber County Jail
Wednesday, August 17, 2016

OGDEN — An attorney has filed notice of intent to sue Weber County over the death of a 40-year-old jail inmate who sheriff’s officials said was in heroin withdrawal.

Woman found dead in Weber County Jail; internal investigation ongoing
Thursday, June 16, 2016

OGDEN — Deputies are investigating after a woman booked into the Weber County Jail was found dead last month. Marion Herrera, 41, was booked into the Weber County Jail on May 18 on suspicion of forgery and theft, Weber County Sheriff’s Lt. Lane Findlay said.

Immigrant's death puts agencies at odds over Weber jail's medical care handling
Monday, July 11, 2016

OGDEN — Bosnian Amra Miletic was one of the last immigration detainees to be housed in the Weber County Jail. Miletic died in a holding cell March 20, 2011. “You people don’t know what you are doing,” she had told a nurse two days earlier. Less than an hour before she died, she grabbed a nurse’s hand and said, “I’m dying.”

Ogden murder suspect found dead in jail cell
Tuesday, March 18, 2014

OGDEN— Jeffrey Dean White, 43, charged with murdering his girlfriend, was found dead late Wednesday night in his cell at the Weber County Jail.

Father to Weber County Commission: Jail failed Stewart, is inhumane
Thursday, March 6, 2014

OGDEN — Matthew David Stewart’s father told the Weber County Commission on Tuesday that the jail failed to protect his son and ignored his complaints about conditions, leading to the murder suspect’s death by hanging May 24.

Do you have a story to share about jail deaths in Utah? Contact us.
Newsroom main: (801) 625-4225 • cityed@standard.net
Or contact our reporter
Mark Shenefelt at mshenefelt@standard.net Report a jail death:

State law does not require jails to report an in-custody death to the public. Sometimes jails choose to send out press releases, but that's not typically the case. If you know someone who has died in a Utah jail, contact the Standard-Examiner at cityed@standard.net with a name of the deceased and the name of the jail where they were in custody.

Requesting an autopsy:
An autopsy report is an official record of a medical examiner's findings during a post-mortem examination. That typically includes information on cause of death and details about the condition of the body as it relates to the factors around death.

In Utah, an autopsy report can only be released to immediate family members and legal representatives. The report is not automatically released to family — it needs to be requested and approved by the Utah Office of the Medical Examiner.

An Immediate family member is defined as a "surviving spouse, child, natural or adoptive parent, any full or half sibling, and any child aged 18 or older," according to the Utah Office of the Medical Examiner website. There is no time limit to when a record can be requested.