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5 charged in connection to 2019 inmate death in Muskegon County

Jail/Prison file photo
Posted at 11:31 AM, Apr 08, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-08 11:31:47-04

MUSKEGON, Mich. — Five people are facing charges in connection with an inmate death back in April 2019.

Four staff members at the Muskegon County Sheriff’s Office and one WellPath employee are being charged related to the death of inmate Paul Bulthouse, a news release said Thursday.

Bulthouse, 39, had been found unresponsive in his cell and was pronounced dead soon after.

He had been brought to the jail in March for a probation violation. He had been held in a single person observation area, designed for detoxification.

An autopsy report said Bulthouse’s cause of death was Status epilepticus, which is an epileptic seizure. The report also said that Bulthouse also suffered from high blood pressure and heart disease, and also chronic alcohol use.

RELATED: Death of Muskegon Co. inmate ruled ‘natural’

The sheriff’s office had asked for an independent investigation to be conducted by the Michigan Sheriff’s Association Mission Team, which found that the sheriff’s office staff acted appropriately in providing care and the performance of cell checks.

The local prosecutor asked for an independent exam by the Michigan attorney general’s office.

RELATED: AG’s office to investigate Muskegon Co. inmate death

Staff has been temporarily reassigned away from direct inmate supervision until court proceedings can be conducted.