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Bellingham man dies in Yakima County jail while waiting for mental health evaluation

AP file

A 68-year-old Bellingham man found dead in his Yakima County jail cell Friday, June 7, died of natural causes, Yakima County Coroner Jim Curtice said.

Keith Daniel Botkin had heart and lung diseases, Curtice said, and the autopsy determined they were factors in his death.

Corrections officers last saw Botkin alive Thursday evening, when his dinner was delivered to his fourth-floor cell, sheriff’s spokesman Casey Schilperoort said in an earlier interview.

When officers came by at 5:25 a.m. Friday for breakfast delivery, they found Botkin unresponsive in his bed and his dinner uneaten, Schilperoort said. When they tried to rouse him, Botkin’s body was cold to the touch.

Botkin was being held in the Yakima County jail under a housing contract with the city of Bellingham. He was booked into the jail May 21, after being ordered held on Bellingham charges that he’d violated a civil anti-harassment order. He also had fourth-degree assault charges pending against him, according to the court records.

Documents showed that he was scheduled for a mental health evaluation by Eastern State Hospital the day he was found dead, with a pretrial hearing set for Monday.

Botkin’s death was the ninth in the jail since 2010. The most recent one before Botkin’s death was Jacob Ozuna, who was bludgeoned to death in a gang housing unit Dec. 9. Three men have been charged with first-degree murder in that case.

Andrew Holland died while in custody at San Luis Obispo County Jail in 2017, after being restrained for 46 hours. This is a look at the events that led to his death, the county's response and the inmates who have died in custody since Holland.

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