Inmate dies after being found unresponsive at detention center

A booking photo of Sean Abbot taken, Tuesday July 23. Three days later Abbott was found unresponsive in a holding cell at the Harvey County Jail and taken to Wesley Medical Center where he was pronounced dead that evening. The initial cause is listed as pulmonary edema - or excess fluid in the lungs.

By Newton Now Staff
A Harvey County Detention Center inmate died Friday at a Wichita hospital, after he was found unresponsive in his cell.

Sean Abbott, 42, was found unresponsive Friday morning in a holding cell at the detention center.
Sheriff Chad Gay said at the time he was not breathing, but deputies and staff performed CPR on him and managed to get his heart beating.

Abbott was transported to Wesley Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead 16 hours later at 11 p.m.

The Sedgwick County Coroner’s Office conducted the preliminary finding for the cause of death, ruling it caused by pulmonary edema -excess fluid in the lungs — and lung congestion. Gay said it could be much longer before an official ruling would be made.

Abbott had been arrested by the Newton Police Department and booked into the jail on Tuesday, July 23, on a municipal warrant. The warrant according to the department, stemmed from a failure to show up to a probation revocation hearing related to a 2013 DUI case.

Gay said that he didn’t know what Abbott’s was when  condition when he entered the jail.

“He appeared to go through a type of illness at the jail,” Gay said. “There was some speculation he might have been going through (alcohol) detox.”

Gay said jail staff had noted that Abbott was suffering from a kind of illness, a nurse had examined him and that he had been put into a separate holding cell to be monitored.

“We were starting to bump up our checks on him,” Gay said adding that the checks were much more regular than on a healthy inmate.

Gay did not have additional information into how Abbott was found in his cell outside of that he was unresponsive, not breathing and staff had trouble finding a heart beat.

Medical staff at the jail includes a nurse seven days of the week, who work from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

“We rely heavily on medical staff,” Gay said. “If we didn’t have medical staff on duty, we have the ability to call.”

Gay called the situation a tragedy but said staff did everything they could or were supposed to do.
“This family lost their son, brother an uncle,” he said. “It’s a sad deal for everybody. My sympathy goes out to the family.”

Following standard protocol,  the Kansas Bureau of Investigation and Harvey County Sheriff’s Office investigations unit processed the scene and the KBI will be investigating the death. Gay said the Sheriff’s Office will review the case as well.

According to Abbott’s obituary, a memorial service will be 11 a.m., Tuesday July 30, 2019 at Spring Lake Club House 1308 South Spring Lake Road Halstead, Kansas.
Memorials are suggested to the Andrew Abbott Educational Fund in care of Andrew Abbott, 403 Buttercup Creek Blvd Apt T2 Cedar Park Texas 78613.