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Santa Barbara Co. Jail inmate who tested positive for COVID-19 dies

Posted at 5:24 PM, Aug 12, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-12 20:24:19-04

A Santa Barbara County Jail inmate who was in medical isolation after testing positive for COVID-19 has died.

Sheriff's officials say Eduardo Velazquez, 38, of Santa Maria was found unresponsive in his cell at about 9 p.m. Tuesday. Efforts to revive him were unsuccessful and he was reportedly pronounced dead at 9:36 p.m.

The sheriff's office says Velazquez was booked into the jail on July 11. He reportedly tested positive for COVID-19 on July 16 and was moved into medical isolation. Sheriff's officials say he then began to experience COVID-19 related complications and was hospitalized from July 17 to July 29.

When Velazquez returned to the jail, sheriff's officials say he remained in medical isolation. Officials say he was last checked on by medical staff at 8 p.m. Tuesday and exhibited no health issues at that time.

The sheriff's office says it appears the death was due to natural causes but that a death investigation will be conducted to determine the official cause.

Velazquez was being held on $1,250,000 bail. He was arrested by the Santa Maria Police Department on suspicion of kidnapping to commit rape, aggravated sexual assault of a minor, oral copulation with force, lewd and lascivious acts with a child under the age of 14, rape by force, two counts of aggravated sexual assault of a minor, aggravated oral copulation of a minor, and continual sexual abuse of a child.