Update regarding two deaths at Okeechobee County Jail

Posted 9/14/22

On Sept 13, 2022, a female inmate, Kaitlynn Joy Barnes, 19, was found not breathing in her bunk during morning roll call checks.

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Update regarding two deaths at Okeechobee County Jail

Posted

OKEECHOBEE — On Sept. 13, 2022, a female inmate, Kaitlynn Joy Barnes, 19, was found not breathing in her bunk during morning roll call checks. CPR was attempted on the inmate by detention staff and emergency services. However, she was pronounced deceased.

The cause of death is currently part of an ongoing investigation.
 
On Sept. 14, 2022, a male inmate, Joseph Abruzzi, 60, was found deceased in his cell during a roll call. The subject was deceased upon being located past the point of emergency intervention.
 
As a precaution, one of our K9 narcotics detection teams searched both separate rooms where the deaths occurred. The K9 team found no presence of illegal substances.
 
At this point, there are no indications that the deaths were connected.
 
Barnes has been held at our facility since May 18, 2022, after a probable cause warrant led detectives to charge her with, Transmission of Child Porn / Possession of Child Porn (X3) and Sex Act Involving an Animal (X3)
 
Abruzzi was arrested on Aug 9, 2022, after the Narcotics Task Force pulled a vehicle driven by Abruzzi over during interdiction work. Abruzzi was subsequently arrested on probable cause for the charges of Possession of Cocaine with the intent to distribute, Possession of LSD with the intent to distribute, Possession of MDA with the intent to distribute, Possession of a Controlled Substance with the intent to distribute, Possession of Methamphetamine with the intent to distribute, Possession of ammunition by a convicted felon, Possession of a controlled substance, Possession of drug paraphernalia, Possession of marijuana under 20 grams and DUI. Abruzzi was held here since his date of arrest.
 
We will remain transparent during this investigation as we await the coroner's reports before releasing the cause of death for either subject.
 
Remember, regardless of charges, these people had families, and we ask that everyone remain respectful to the families and pray for everyone involved
OCSO

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