BCSO reports second Bexar County Jail inmate fatality in as many days

Francisco Javier Salinas died from medical episode ‘compounded by withdrawal symptoms’

BCSO said Francisco Salinas was found dead in his jail cell. (COURTESY: Salinas’ family) (Copyright 2024 by KSAT - All rights reserved.)

SAN ANTONIO – A man died Friday at the Bexar County Jail, the second inmate in as many days to die at the lockup, the Bexar County Sheriff’s Office said.

Francisco Javier Salinas, 41, was found unresponsive by a deputy conducting face-to-face observations shortly before 7 a.m., BCSO said.

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The deputy gave Salinas medical attention and called for more assistance. Medical personnel at the jail arrived, but Salinas was pronounced dead at 7:19 a.m., BCSO said.

Salinas is believed to have suffered from a medical episode “compounded by withdrawal symptoms,” a BCSO press release said.

BCSO said Salinas had “a history of several chronic conditions which required a constant level of care” but said the Bexar County Medical Examiner’s Office would determine the official cause and manner of death.

Salinas was booked by BCSO on April 16 on a charge of assault bodily injury-married. His bond was set at $2,500, according to court records data.

The death was the second in as many days at the jail.

Duane Ventimiglia, 40, was found dead Thursday after a medical episode, BCSO said.

In accordance with the Sandra Bland Act, the Karnes County Sheriff’s Office is handling the death investigation while the BCSO Internal Affairs Unit is conducting a concurrent but separate administrative investigation, the release said.

Sheriff Javier Salazar issued the following statement in the release:

“I have said well before, that we are continuing to see more and more inmates being booked with severe medical conditions and deadly withdrawal symptoms. We have taken proactive measures, such as instituting “Operation Life Guard”, a wide scale approach to addressing inmate health and welfare. This plan has seen some success. In my opinion, since we are seeing more inmates coming in with chronic conditions, we will become more stringent on who we medically accept into our facility. These people would be much better served in a robust medical facility, rather than what we can offer in the jail. Preliminarily, it appears the only commonalities are the fact that these two prisoners were detoxing and had preexisting chronic diseases. The detoxification process is extremely hard on the body, especially when other comorbidities are present. Currently, we are speaking with stakeholders in regard to more protocols we can establish on inmates experiencing detoxification.”

About the Authors

Mason Hickok is a digital journalist at KSAT. He graduated from the University of Texas at San Antonio with a communication degree and a minor in film studies. He also spent two years working at The Paisano, the independent student newspaper at UTSA. Outside of the newsroom, he enjoys the outdoors, reading and watching movies.

Emmy-award winning reporter Dillon Collier joined KSAT Investigates in September 2016. Dillon's investigative stories air weeknights on the Nightbeat and on the Six O'Clock News. Dillon is a two-time Houston Press Club Journalist of the Year and a Texas Associated Press Broadcasters Reporter of the Year.

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