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SCV jail death appears to be heroin related

Posted: June 30, 2014 6:57 p.m.
Updated: June 30, 2014 6:57 p.m.

Jenna Marie Coleman, found dead in a jail cell Saturday, appears to be Santa Clarita Valley’s latest heroin-related casualty, according to a sergeant with the local sheriff’s narcotics section.

Coleman, a slight 5-foot-3 Valencia resident and graduate of Hart High School Class of 2004, was found unresponsive in a jail cell at the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station on Saturday shortly after noon, according to a statement by sheriff’s Sgt. Diane Hecht of the Homicide Bureau.

While doing a security check of the jail at 23740 Magic Mountain Parkway deputies found Coleman lying on her bed in her cell. She was unresponsive, Hecht said in the statement.

Shortly after Los Angeles County Fire Rescue Paramedics responded to the jail, they pronounced Coleman dead.

News of the young woman’s death has shaken her family.

“I can’t talk about this right now,” her mother, Shelly Coleman, told The Signal Monday. “We’re still processing it.”

Jenna Coleman, who was raised in Valencia near Orchard Village Road, had been arrested on the suspicion she was in possession of a narcotic and controlled substance, a sergeant with the narcotics section said Monday, noting the suspected drug to be heroin.

The arrest was made Thursday about 9:25 a.m. during a traffic stop, the sergeant said, when Coleman was reportedly found asleep in a car.

She had a court appearance scheduled for Tuesday in San Fernando Superior Court and was being held on $10,000 bail.

Coleman, who would have turned 28 in October, worked as a beautician, according to the sheriff’s arrest log.

“A medical examination of the body is scheduled for today,” Lt. Fred Corral of the Los Angeles County Coroner’s Department said Monday. By late afternoon, however, that examination had been re-scheduled to take place on Tuesday.

The Los Angeles County Coroner’s Office routinely investigates in-custody deaths. The cause and manner of Coleman’s death, including whether or not drugs were a factor, have yet to be determined officially, Corral said.

Asked what the coroner has confirmed about the woman’s death, he said; “She was found unresponsive in a jail cell.”

Generally, the death of an inmate in the Los Angeles County jail system triggers multiple independent investigations by the sheriff’s Homicide Bureau, the department’s Internal Affairs Bureau, and Los Angeles County Coroner’s Office, Hecht wrote.

“Justice System Integrity Division personnel from the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office intend to attend the autopsy,” Hecht wrote. “Once concluded, every aspect of the death is reviewed by the Sheriff’s Executive Death Review Committee.”


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