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Deputies: Inmate at Santa Barbara Co. Main Jail dies, cause of death unknown at this time

Posted at 8:47 PM, Jan 12, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-12 23:56:04-05

Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Office announced Wednesday the death of an inmate at the Main Jail.

Deputies say, Johnathan Paul Thomas, 45, died in his cell at 2:03 a.m. for reasons that are unknown at this time.

Thomas was arrested by Santa Maria Police on Tuesday, January 11, at approximately 9:32 p.m. for domestic violence and false imprisonment. Thomas was transported to the Main Jail where he was booked at approximately 1:32 a.m. He was being held on $10,000 bail.

Deputies say prior to, and during the booking process, Thomas made statements about suicide, was deemed a danger to himself and was escorted to a single-occupant safety cell.

"What is clear so far in the investigation is that once inside the safety cell, custody deputies removed Thomas’ clothing, he was placed face down onto the floor of the cell, his handcuffs were removed, and custody deputies exited the cell. Minutes later, custody deputies noticed that Thomas was not moving," according to the sheriff's office.

Lifesaving measures by first responders were unsuccessful, and Thomas was declared dead.

The cause of death is unknown at this time, and the investigation remains ongoing.

An autopsy has been scheduled for Thursday.