UPDATE: Police report cause of inmate death

Steven Qualls

Police say an autopsy report recently released revealed that an inmate found dead in a cell at the Jasper City Jail on Jan. 30 died of a drug overdose.

According to a news release from the Jasper Police Department (JPD), a coroner deemed the death accidental and the autopsy report from the Jefferson County medical examiner’s office indicates 28-year-old Steven Mitchell Qualls’ died as the result of methamphetamine/amphetamine toxicity.

Qualls was discovered unconscious and unresponsive in a detoxification cell at the jail at about 8:45 a.m. on the day of his death. Emergency Medical Service Technicians who were called to the jail found no vital signs of life upon examination. Qualls was pronounced dead by Justice of the Peace Jimmy Miller. He was reportedly alone in the cell when he died.

Qualls, who was a resident of Tyler County, had been booked into the Jasper City Jail for public intoxication after being discharged from the Christus Jasper Memorial Hospital on Jan. 28 and refusing to leave the property, JPD reported.

Because Qualls died in police custody, the Texas Rangers were called in to investigate his death.

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