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Coroner: Inmate likely died of natural causes


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A Columbus man who went into cardiac arrest last weekend at the Bartholomew County Jail likely died of natural causes, said Bartholomew County Coroner Larry Fisher.

At 3:19 a.m. Saturday, jail officials saw Dennis W. Simpson, 46, of West County Road 50S, experiencing labored breathing as he rolled from his bunk onto the floor, said Chief Deputy Maj. Todd Noblitt of the Bartholomew County Sheriff’s Department.

Simpson, who was serving a three-day commitment order, was rushed to Columbus Regional Hospital, where he was pronounced dead at 4 a.m., Noblitt said.

While an autopsy conducted Monday in Indianapolis did not provide investigators with a conclusive cause, Simpson had a history of health-related problems that indicates he likely died of natural causes, Fisher said.

Toxicology and bacterial test results may still provide a more conclusive cause of death in the near future, he added.

The case is expected to remain under review by the Bartholomew County Death Investigation Team led by Sheriff Mark Gorbett, Noblitt said.

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