Thursday, September 16, 2021

Authorities investigating death of Denton County Jail inmate

Brandon Dominguez’s book-in photo, courtesy of Denton County Jail

A Denton County inmate died this week after having a medical emergency, according to a Denton County Sheriff’s Office news release.

Brandon Alexander Dominguez, 23, was booked into Denton County Jail on July 2 on deferred probation for possession of a controlled substance. Dominguez most recently lived in Illinois, but he used to live in Denton and was arrested out-of-state and extradited to Denton County Jail.

On Tuesday, Dominguez was in medical distress and apparently went into cardiac arrest in his housing unit, according to DCSO. He was unresponsive with no apparent pulse. Denton County Health personnel responded and initiated life-saving measures, and then Denton Fire Department paramedics arrived and continued to try to save his life as they transported him to the hospital, where a pulse was detected and the life-saving measures were continued.

Hospital staff later notified the jail that Dominguez tested positive for COVID-19 and had other previously undisclosed health issues, and he was placed on life support. Dominguez was released from DCSO custody on a $2,500 personal recognizance bond so that his family could make medical decisions on his behalf. The next day, the family decided to terminate life-saving measures and he died on Wednesday evening, according to the news release.

As standard protocol, the Texas Rangers and the Denton County Medical Examiner’s Office will investigate Dominguez’s death.

A local resident who asked to not be identified told the CTG that he has a family member who was in the same jail pod with Dominguez. The family member said that Dominguez was visibly sick for several days before his death, and was having trouble breathing and walking. Several inmates asked guards to give Dominguez medical treatment, and the only treatment they saw them offer Dominguez was a COVID-19 test, which Dominguez declined, the source said.

However, Barry Caver, assistant chief deputy of detention operations, said Dominguez was seen by jail medical staff a few times before his death and was treated for his symptoms.

The source said he emailed Sheriff Tracy Murphree on Monday, before Dominguez’s death, to raise concerns about the care — or lack thereof — Dominguez was receiving. He did not receive a response from Murphree, he said.

The source also said that the jail has not isolated the inmates who were exposed to Dominguez. Caver said there are currently 28 inmates who have tested positive for COVID-19, and 452 inmates have been isolated in multiple housing units, but “with over 1,100 inmates, we are very limited in our ability to medically isolate inmates.”

The jail has vaccinated about 40% of the current inmates.

Mark Smith
Mark Smith is the Digital Editor of The Cross Timbers Gazette.

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