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Investigation probes death of man, 19, at Benton County jail

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jail cell

KENNEWICK, Wash. (AP) — An autopsy is set Tuesday to determine the cause of death of a 19-year-old mentally ill man who died at the Benton County jail.

The Tri-City Herald reports (http://goo.gl/Uw11z5 ) that Marc Anthony Moreno was found dead in his single-person cell Friday, about a week after he was arrested on misdemeanor warrants out of Benton and Franklin counties.

His family says he was arrested while seeking counseling at the Benton Franklin Crisis Response Unit in Kennewick. His family protested his death at the Benton County Justice Center Monday and demanded answers.

A special investigation unit is investing the case. Suicide is not suspected. Moreno’s family says he was bipolar and suffered from schizophrenia.

The Benton County Sheriff’s Office says Moreno was uncooperative during his arrest and when he arrived at jail. It says corrections officers never used force on him.

Sheriff Steve Keane says Moreno acted erratic, refused to eat for several days and barely slept. Keane says mental health professionals assessed him daily and jail staff checked on him every 30 minutes.