Western Nebraska Observer - Observations all along the line - Kimball & the Southern Panhandle First

Man dies days after hanging himself in county jail


Jesus Estrada Perez

Earliest reports that Jesus Estrada-Perez died while incarcerated at the Kimball County Jail were incorrect, but he later died after attempting to take his own life.

Estrada-Perez, 28, died last week at Regional West Medical Center in Scottsbluff. He was joined by family as he remained on life support for several days, according to Nebraska State Patrol Lieutenant Monica Bartling. Kimball County Attorney Dave Wilson did not have a time or date of death for Estrada-Perez. He reported the death to The Observer on Friday.

Estrada-Perez, of Minnesota, was traveling July 31 along Hwy. 71 with a companion, Eve Connelley, in a rental car. They pulled to the side of the road south of Kimball near the airport and Estrada-Perez exited the vehicle.

Shortly after 2 p.m., Connelley reported that Estrada-Perez had walked into a field and had not returned more than an hour and a half later. Connelley further reported that Estrada-Perez was depressed, suffered from anxiety and may have been suicidal.

A search of the area, which included Kimball County Sheriff's Office deputies and the Nebraska State Patrol, lasted until shortly after 5:30 p.m.

The suspect was found after ingesting a large amount of marijuana, according to the Kimball County Sheriff's Office communications log. He was cleared medically at Kimball Health Services and booked into the Kimball County Jail on charges of possession of hash oil.

Estrada-Perez was in possession of medication at the scene that was being checked by local pharmacist Mike Bemis, who found that the medication was what Estrada-Perez stated.

At 1:35 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 1, jailer Annette Brower performed a regular jail check to discuss Estrada-Perez's recently released medication when she found him hanging in his cell. Brower called for assistance from the Kimball County Ambulance Service, the Kimball Police Department and KCSO reserve deputy Travis Terrill. Estrada-Perez was transported to Regional West.

The Nebraska State Patrol was contacted to investigate the incident and KCSO Deputy Brandon Loy taped off the scene. During the initial NSP interview, Brower said that she was unaware that the inmate was suicidal, though she also stated that when the departments were searching for him the previous day he was suicidal and had medication.

The Nebraska State Patrol is investigating the incident, with Sergeant Monty Lovelace heading that investigation.

A grand jury will be convened in the matter, according to Wilson, who will file a certificate of death and request the district judge to appoint a special prosecutor once he receives an autopsy and reports.

"The special prosecutor appoints three investigators to get the evidence for the grand jury hearing," Wilson said.


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