Coroner: LaPorte County Jail inmate died by accidental overdose
An inmate at the LaPorte County Jail died after an accidental narcotics overdose, according to an investigation.
Andrea Roberts, 35, was found unresponsive in her cell on Saturday, July 15.
The jail supervisor immediately began resuscitation efforts, according to the La Porte County Sheriff’s Office. Roberts was taken to the LaPorte Hospital, where she later died.
The LaPorte County Coroner’s Office found that there were lethal amounts of fentanyl in Roberts' system.
According to the Sheriff's Office, "the narcotic fentanyl is often used to lace heroin or in some cases is sold represented to be heroin. Fentanyl is much more potent than heroin and even when ingested in small amounts can cause death."
“Through the investigation done by my office, we were able to determine that this death was caused by the victim and not at the hands of anyone else,” La Porte County Coroner Bob Cutler said.
Investigators say inmates have not been cooperative, so detectives are unable to prove who smuggled the narcotics into the jail or who may have supplied them to Roberts.
“Our jail staff’s hands are tied when it comes to searching certain areas of the body,” said LaPorte County Sheriff John Boyd, acknowledging that drugs are often brought into the jail in this manner. “We are working to add another layer of security for our facility and hope to purchase a full body scanner for use of all arrestees that are brought into the jail. The funds for the purchase are in place and we will be seeking the approval for this purchase from the La Porte County Council.”