Paso Robles News|Tuesday, February 18, 2020
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Inmate death reported at county jail 

–On Friday, San Luis Obispo County Jail staff were alerted that an inmate was discovered unresponsive in his bunk in a dorm housing unit of the county jail. Jail staff immediately responded and began life-saving measures including CPR and a Narcan injection and contacted both jail medical staff and outside medical assistance, according to the San Luis Obispo County Sheriff’s Office.

The inmate identified as 56-year-old Ernest Leonard Ortiz of Grover Beach remained unresponsive and was later pronounced deceased.

A short time later, another inmate who had been seen with Ortiz just prior, collapsed from an apparent drug overdose. He received an injection of Narcan and was subsequently revived.

This incident is being investigated as a possible drug overdose/use.

The inmate was in a dorm housing unit of the county jail with open bunks which houses 51 inmates. The inmate was observed by staff eating lunch and then returning to his bunk. In the dorm setting, inmates have access to their bunks throughout the day. At approximately 1:05 p.m. an inmate reported Ortiz was unresponsive.

Jails across the state are dealing with incidents of drug overdoses. Just last week at the Santa Barbara County Jail, 18 people including inmates and deputies were treated for suspected opioid overdoses. Ortiz had been in custody since March 28, 2019 for charges of violating probation and was due to be released July 18, 2020.

The District Attorney’s Office is leading the investigation.

No further information is available at this time.

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About the author: News Staff

News staff of the Paso Robles Daily News wrote and edited this story from local contributors and press releases. Scott Brennan is the publisher of this newspaper and founder of Access Publishing. Connect with him on Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, or follow his blog. He can be reached at