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Authorities investigating death of Kent Co. inmate

Posted: 2:49 PM, Dec 31, 2019
Updated: 2019-12-31 16:46:18-05
RAFAEL TORRES-MENDOZA mug shot.jpg

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Authorities are investigating after an inmate at the Kent County Correctional Facility died by an apparent suicide.

The Kent County Sheriff’s Office says a deputy found an inmate in his cell in medical distress following a suicide attempt around 8:55 p.m. Despite life-saving measures by medical and correctional personnel, he died at approximately 9:44 p.m.

Authorities have identified the man as Rafael Torres-Mendoza. He had been incarcerated at the jail since Sept. 18 while waiting for his trial in an arson case.

He was accused of trying to set fire to a home on Swensberg Avenue in Grand Rapids. Investigators said he told them he had bad memories from when he lived there and didn’t have any affiliation with its current residents.