By Mike De Felice
Kitsap News Group
PORT ORCHARD – A female inmate at the Kitsap County Jail died Monday, the Kitsap County Sheriff’s Office announced Monday.
On Tuesday, the Kitsap County Coroner’s Office identified the deceased woman as 40-year-old Stephanie Ann Melton.
She had been arraigned in Kitsap County Superior Court on Dec. 10 following an investigation by the Port Orchard Police Department. Melton, of Port Orchard, was accused of contributing to her 11-year-old daughter’s death by giving her the drug fentanyl at home.
The coroner’s office said an autopsy is to be conducted on Wednesday, and the manner and cause of her death will then be determined.
Melton was found unresponsive Monday morning by a corrections officer on a routine check, the social media post said. The officer and medical staff immediately attempted lifesaving measures on the woman until medics from South Kitsap Fire and Rescue responded to take over, the post stated.
Officials said the woman was transported to St. Michael Medical Center in Silverdale, where she later died.
Monday afternoon, detectives from the Kitsap Critical Incident Response Team (KCIRT) were at the jail investigating the death, said KCIRT public information officer Lt. Aaron Elton, who is from the Bremerton Police Department (BPD).
Port Orchard Police Chief Matt Brown requested that KCIRT investigate the circumstances surrounding Melton’s death, the sheriff’s office said.
When there is an in-custody death, state legislation calls for an independent review of the fatality to be conducted, Elton said. The review by outside law enforcement agencies is intended to maintain the integrity of the investigation, he added.
The county jail, operated by the sheriff’s office, is in Port Orchard. As a result, the county sheriff’s office and Port Orchard Police Department will not participate in the KCIRT investigation.
Agencies conducting the KCIRT investigation into the inmate’s death include the Bremerton, Bainbridge Island, Shelton and Poulsbo police departments, as well as the Washington State Patrol, Elton said. In this case, Bremerton Police will be the lead agency and Captain Mike Davis from BPD will direct the review, the KCIRT spokesman said.