Update: 12:50 p.m.
Two inmates have overdosed on pills within the Sullivan County jail — killing one of the women — while a third female prisoner is suspected of smuggling the drugs into the facility.
The Sullivan County Sheriff's Office has identified the deceased woman as Marlina Kindle, 34. At approximately 4:45 a.m. Thursday correctional facility staff observed that she had stopped breathing and began CPR. EMS responded and transported Kindle to Bristol Regional Medical Center, where she was later pronounced dead.
In the same cell as Kindle another inmate, Jessica Parks, 28, began complaining of chest pain. She was also transported from Blountville to the hospital for treatment, then booked back into jail.
SCSO Public Information Officer Leslie Earhart says the women are believed to have overdosed on pills. Police are continuing to investigate the case, with Earhart adding a third inmate is suspected of smuggling the drugs inside a body cavity.
Unless a search warrant has been obtained, state law prohibits jail staff from conducting body cavity searches while processing inmates into the facility.
Earhart said the SCSO also has a policy of not conducting strip searches unless their is cause for reasonable suspicion.
As of Friday afternoon no charges had been placed in the incident.
The Sullivan County Sheriff’s Office is reporting that at approximately 4:45 a.m. Thursday officers at the county jail were alerted that a female inmate appeared to have stopped breathing.
Medical staff at the jail immediately took action, performing CPR on the inmate until EMS arrived. The female was then transported to Bristol Regional Medical Center, where she was later pronounced dead.
A release from SCSO Public Information Officer Leslie Earhart states that shortly after the first female was transported to the hospital, another female inmate from the same cell said she was having chest pains. Medical staff responded, checked the inmate, and called EMS to transport her to the hospital as well.
She was admitted to the hospital and will be transported back to the jail upon her release.
At this point detectives believe the inmates may have potentially overdosed. However, the investigation is still ongoing.
The names of the inmates are not being released at this time. The body of the deceased female will be sent for an autopsy.