GBI denies Cobb Sheriff Office request to investigate inmate death because hospital indicates natural causes

Sign for the Cobb County Adult Detention Center facility

Photo: Cobb County Courier/Larry Felton Johnson, CC BY 4.0

According to a spokesperson for the GBI, the bureau denied a request by the Cobb County Sheriff’s Office to investigate Monday’s death of an inmate in custody because the hospital had deemed the death to be of natural causes.

The Courier had asked the GBI public information officer the following questions via email:

  1. Will the GBI be handling an investigation of this death?
  2. Does the GBI ever investigate jail deaths at the request of the local Sheriff’s Office (similar to Officer Involved Shootings)

Nelly Miles, Director of the GBI’s Office of Public & Governmental Affairs answered, “The GBI denied the request to investigate because doctors at the hospital indicated Fernando Carr died of natural causes.”

“Our agency does conduct investigations into jail deaths. The investigations are done on a case-by-case basis,” she wrote.

Original story

A detainee died in custody yesterday at the Cobb County Adult Detention Center.

Randi Okray, a Senior Marketing and Public Relations Specialist at the Cobb County Sheriff’s Office distributed the following public information release this afternoon:

On Monday, Nov. 13, an ambulance was dispatched to the Cobb County Adult Detention Center after a detainee, Fernando Carr, experienced chest pains and began seizing. 

The detainee was booked into the ADC on Nov. 1, 2023, with a documented heart condition and a drug addiction. 

Mr. Carr was in the recreation yard when he began experiencing chest pains. He was immediately taken to the infirmary and given fluids. He was initially responsive when engaging with the medical staff. While receiving care, he began to have another episode, at which time immediate life-saving techniques were administered by medical personnel.

Mr. Carr passed away Monday at Kennestone Hospital. 

Sheriff Owens has notified the Georgia Bureau of Investigations of his passing. The Cobb County Sheriff’s Office has begun a standard internal investigation to ensure protocols were followed. The Cobb County Medical Examiner will perform an autopsy to determine the official cause of death.

The Courier reached out to the Cobb County Sheriff’s Office for more information, but has not heard from them at the time of publication. We will update with more information as we receive it.