WTRJ inmate dies in custody

Published 11:00 pm Tuesday, February 17, 2009

An inmate from the Western Tidewater Regional Jail died on the way to the hospital Monday night after he was discovered vomiting in his cell by fellow inmates.

Suffolk spokeswoman Debbie George said Tuesday that John Earl Artis, 60, of Suffolk was determined by a coroner to have died of natural causes.

Cellmates reported Artis’ sickness to guards at the regional jail, and a rescue squad was called to the scene to transport him to Sentara Obici Hospital between 10 and 10:30 p.m. Monday, according to George and police reports.

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Artis had a last-known address on Camp Pond Road, George said.