QUESTION: How did a woman die from a drug overdose in the jail (in August) several days after her arrest? Are deputies not searching incoming inmates very well?
ANSWER: Sheriff Terry Johnson acknowledged in an interview with The Alamance News that a woman had, in fact, died at the jail, but he said the underlying cause is not yet known.
An autopsy is being performed. He noted that the woman had other medical problems and wore a pacemaker. There was no indication that she had drugs on her at the time of her death, he said.
Trisha Decapua, 30, white, female, of 714 Ivey Road, Graham, died on August 13. She had originally been admitted to the jail on August 6 for failure to appear on a previous court date. Subsequently, on August 9, she was discovered to have hidden cocaine in her bra.
Among other previous charges, she was arrested in October 2020 at 2185 Hanford Road, the Microtel Hotel, for false representation and solicitation of prostitution.
Asked how drugs could have been overlooked when she was booked into the jail last month,
Johnson said it is not uncommon for women to sew drugs into their bras – in hopes of alluding detection or, if arrested, avoiding confiscation of their drugs.
Johnson also referenced the occasional practice where inmates of either sex attempt to hide stashes of drugs in body cavities.
In such cases, the sheriff’s office must obtain a search warrant, take the prisoner to a medical facility, where a search is conducted by a medical professional to extract any drugs.
In Decapua’s case, when Emergency Medical Services arrived at the jail, she could not be revived by CPR, Johnson described, but was taken by ambulance to the hospital nonetheless.
While in transport, she appeared to have revived, the sheriff recalled, but relapsed by the time she arrived at the hospital where she was pronounced dead.
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