Bandon man dies while in custody at Coos County Jail, investigation launched

File image of the interior of the Coos County Jail in Coquille, Ore., October 27, 2017. (SBG)

COQUILLE, Ore. – A Bandon man lodged at the Coos County Jail has died after he was found unresponsive in his cell, Coos County District Attorney’s Office said.

Around 5:30 a.m. on Sunday, December 3, 42-year-old Rocky Alan Stewart was transported to Coquille Valley Hospital after medical personnel were summoned. He was declared dead by ambulance personnel en route, according to a news release from District Attorney R. Paul Frasier.

Officials say Stewart was arrested Saturday evening, December 2, on a charge of fourth degree assault stemming from a domestic disturbance at a residence south of Bandon.

Stewart had been involved in a fight with another family member, according to information the DA released Sunday. That family member was injured and transported to Southern Coos Hospital for treatment, treated and released.

Stewart was arrested and transported to the jail, arriving shortly before 8:30 p.m. Saturday. He had minor injuries stemming from the fight with the family member “but declined medical attention after it was offered on several occasions including after he arrived at the jail,” Frasier said in the news release.

“At this point it is not known why Mr. Stewart died,” the DA continued. “The Coos County Medical Examiner’s Office has done an external review of his body and reports that the body of Mr. Stewart, outside of the previously mentioned minor injuries, has no other injury and the external examination does not reveal any cause of death. I have ordered that an autopsy be performed on the body of Mr. Stewart and I expect it will be done as soon as the forensic pathologist is available to do so.”

Oregon State Police has been placed in charge of the investigation “pertaining to the jail from the time that Mr. Stewart was lodged into the jail (Saturday),” Frasier said.

The DA’s report continued: “As we do not know why Mr. Stewart died, it has been decided that the assault in Bandon be further investigated. The Coos County Major Crime Team was activated and officers from the North Bend Police Department, the Coos Bay Police Department, the Oregon State Police (in addition to detectives working at the jail), the Medical Examiner’s Office, Coos County Community Corrections and the District Attorney’s Office have responded.”

Frasier says the North Bend Police Department will lead the investigation of the Bandon incident.

The DA said, as is normal practice, since Stewart died while in jail custody, Coos County Sheriff’s Office has been excluded from the investigation at the jail and from the Bandon investigation.

Anyone with information on the matter is asked to call Oregon State Police or the North Bend Police Department.

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