Public Safety

Linn County inmate dies after being found without pulse in cell, cause of death under investigation

The Linn County Correctional Center in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, on Wednesday, April 1, 2020. (Jim Slosiarek/The Gazette)
The Linn County Correctional Center in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, on Wednesday, April 1, 2020. (Jim Slosiarek/The Gazette)

CEDAR RAPIDS — Authorities are investigating the death of a Linn County Correctional Center inmate.

He was found unresponsive in a cell Wednesday and later was pronounced dead, according to the Linn County Sheriff’s Office.

Inmates alerted the jail staff at 4:20 p.m. about an inmate who was not breathing.

Deputies and medical staff responded to a cellblock on the jail’s second floor and found Ryan Edward Bailey, 40, of Marion, who had no pulse.

The sheriff’s office said another inmate in the dormitory-style cellblock administered CPR until the emergency staff arrived and took over care.

Bailey was transported to Mercy Medical Center in Cedar Rapids, where he was pronounced dead shortly after his arrival.

Bailey was booked into the jail six hours earlier — at 10:12 a.m. Wednesday — as a hold for the Lary Nelson Center.

The center is a residential facility for male inmates who have been granted work release. The 93-bed facility is intended for “higher-risk offenders” who require strict structure and “enhanced supervision,” according to the Iowa Department of Corrections website.


When Bailey arrived at the jail, the sheriff’s office said, medical staff examined him for a potential knee injury acquired during a scuffle with arresting officers. No obvious injuries were observed, and Bailey declined any further medical treatment, authorities said.

About 35 minutes before Bailey was found unresponsive, jail deputies checked the cellblock where Bailey was housed. That was at 3:44 p.m., the sheriff’s office said. Nothing was found to be out of the ordinary, and a review of the cellblock video surveillance footage showed no apparent cause for Bailey’s medical emergency, the sheriff’s office said.

The Linn County medical examiner has ordered an autopsy.

The death has been reported to the state jail inspector, and the incident remains under investigation.

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