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Woman died of natural causes at Utah prison

Published November 26, 2012 4:24 pm

Report • Autopsy reveals death was related to a seizure disorder.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2012, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

A woman found dead in her cell at the Utah State Prison in September died of natural causes related to a seizure disorder, according to autopsy results.

Priscilla Elizabeth Chavez, 29, was found dead in a special-care unit at the prison on Sept. 21. Unified Police, who investigated the death, said at the time there were no obvious signs of trauma but that Chavez had a "complicated" medical history.

Unified Police Lt. Justin Hoyal said Monday that a toxicology report also found no illegal drugs or other suspicious substances in her system. The case is now closed, he said.

Chavez' relatives said in September they did not understand how the woman, who had mental-health issues and was on suicide watch, could die while under constant supervision. They said other inmates reported Chavez was being heavily medicated and kept in her cell in the month before she died.

Chavez had been in and out of jail and prison since her teens. She sued the Department of Corrections in 2004 after she was raped by an officer. The department paid Chavez $25,000 in an out-of-court settlement and, in 2010, a judge awarded her $1.4 million in her civil lawsuit against the officer.







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