Woman found dead in LaPorte County Jail cell identified

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By: Associated Press

MICHIGAN CITY, Ind. (AP) — Authorities are investigating the death of a 33-year-old female inmate found dead in a jail cell in northern Indiana.

The News-Dispatch reports ( ) Rachel Barnes of Valparaiso was found unresponsive in her cell at the LaPorte County Jail by sheriff’s deputies about 1:30 a.m. CDT Sunday. Deputies went to the cell after a deputy that was monitoring a camera noticed she wasn’t moving.

Deputies say life-saving attempts to revive Barnes, including CPR, were unsuccessful. An autopsy is scheduled Monday.

Barnes had been in jail since Friday since driving her vehicle into a pond near the Porter and LaPorte County line. She was being held a preliminary charge of operating while intoxicated.

Below is the latest news release from the LaPorte County Sheriff’s Office regarding the inmates death that was sent to 95.3 MNC on Sunday:

The La Porte County Sheriff’s Office is releasing the name of the female inmate that died while in custody at the La Porte County Jail early Sunday morning. Rachel Barnes, 33-years-old, listed an address in Valparaiso, IN. She was found unresponsive by deputies in the jail at approximately 1:30 AM. Sheriff Boyd spoke with Barnes’ father late Sunday morning.

Rachel Barnes was arrested Friday April 17th after she had driven her vehicle into a pond on CR 250 N near the Porter / La Porte County line. A nearby resident found Barnes sitting on the ground near the pond where her vehicle was completely submerged. Sheriff’s Deputies suspected that Barnes was impaired by alcohol and possibly drugs so she was taken to IU Health / La Porte Hospital where a blood draw was done. It was reported to the arresting deputy that Barnes’ blood alcohol level was .447% which is more than five times the .08% limit. Barnes was being held in lieu of bond on a charge of Class “A” misdemeanor Operating While Intoxicated.

Rachel Barnes was lodged at the La Porte County jail shortly after 10:00 PM on the 17th and was booked into the jail shortly after 6:00 AM on the morning of the 18th. As per protocol, Barnes was placed in an holding cell in the processing area of the jail. Typically an arrestee is held in this area pending a cell block assignment.

Investigators will be awaiting the results of the autopsy to help aid them in learning what may have been the cause of death in this case.