Kent County jail inmate death prompts investigation

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Detectives with the Kent County Sheriff’s Office are investigating the death of a jail inmate.

In a Tuesday afternoon news release, Kent County Sheriff’s Department says Rafael Torres-Mendoza was in “medical distress” after an apparent suicide attempt when he was discovered in his cell around 8:55 p.m. Monday. The sheriff’s office says jail and medical staff tried to revive Torres-Mendoza, but he died less than an hour later.

Torres-Mendoza had been in the jail since Sept. 18 on charges of third-degree arson, second-degree arson and a third offense of operating while intoxicated.

Grand Rapids police said Torres-Mendoza tried to set a house on fire twice that month because he said he had “bad memories” from when he lived there.

The Kent County medical examiner is also involved in the death investigation.