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Inmate, 29, found dead in county jail in December

Metropolitan Detention Center. (AP file)

Copyright © 2020 Albuquerque Journal

A 29-year-old man died from an apparent medical issue while in custody at the Metropolitan Detention Center late last year.

Patrick Leat’s death was not announced when it occurred Dec. 1, but the Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Office released incident reports to the Journal this week in response to an Inspection of Public Records Act request.

An investigator with the Office of the Medical investigator said his death was not suspicious, but a full autopsy and toxicology would determine the cause. That autopsy has not yet been made available.

According to the incident reports, another inmate, Brandon Reynolds, told a detective that Leat had started taking methadone two days earlier, even though he didn’t need it.

“According to Reynolds, Leat had told him he needed something to pass his year in jail,” the detective wrote in the report. “Leat told him he was going to get put on methadone. Reynolds told him to stay away from the stuff because he didn’t need it.

Candace Hopkins, an MDC spokeswoman, couldn’t immediately provide information about the procedure for inmates to be put on methadone.

She said the jail has not yet received an autopsy report on Leat and his death remains under investigation.

Leat had been in jail since mid-September after violating probation in a 2012 armed robbery case and was in a psychiatric pod at the time of his death.

Family members could not be reached for comment.

According to the incident report, on Dec. 1, around 1:25 a.m., Reynolds called correctional officers because he could hear Leat was having trouble breathing, and then realized he was unresponsive, and cold and clammy to the touch. Correctional officers responded and although they performed CPR, Leat died.

Leat had told other inmates he had a stomach ache and was having trouble breathing, and although he had not requested medical assistance, he had thrown up earlier in the night. A correctional officer told investigators that when he checked on Leat around 1 a.m., he was still alive.

Hopkins said Leat was the second person to die at the Metropolitan Detention Center in 2019. In February, Vicente Villela died after being restrained by correctional officers. His death was determined to be a homicide, but no charges have been filed.

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