Island County inmate death sparks review

Island County Sheriff Mark Brown placed two corrections deputies on paid administrative leave following the death of an inmate this week.

The department is investigating possible violations of department policy, said Brown, in Friday news release.

Corrections deputies found Keaton Farris, 25, deceased in his jail cell at 12:20 a.m. on April 8. A detective with the Sheriff’s Office and the Island County coroner are investigating the death.

“We’ve reached out to the family,” he said, “and are doing what we can to release information to them as we can.”

Farris was being held on an identify theft charge out of San Juan County and had been incarcerated at the Island County jail since March 26, 2015, according to the sheriff.

Brown said Farris was by himself in a “safety room” at the jail when he died. The room is different from the “blue room” or behavioral modification room at the jail — it’s more like an ordinary cell, the sheriff said.

Farris had been living on Lopez Island and graduated from high school there, but he attended Coupeville High School during his sophomore and junior years.

Online court records show that Farris was being held in lieu of $10,000 bail and was ordered to be evaluated by Western State Hospital for competency to stand trial.

“We appreciate everyone’s desire for more meaningful details and we will make every effort to keep the community informed while balancing the interests of the family and the employees,” Brown said.

“Perhaps most important we wish to turn the focus back toward our heartfelt sympathy for the families and friends who are suffering from this unfortunate loss.”