Vilas County Inmate Dead, Overdose

January 12, 2024
vilas county inmate overdose jail

Authorities are currently investigating the circumstances surrounding the passing of Jessica Barry, a 46-year-old woman from Ashland, who tragically lost her life on New Year’s Day while detained at the Vilas County Jail. The Oneida County Sheriff’s Office is leading this inquiry.

The situation unfolded on the evening of January 1, as detailed in a statement by Vilas County Chief Deputy Patrick Schmidt. It was reported to the jail’s control center that Barry was experiencing a severe medical crisis. Another inmate alerted a correctional officer to the emergency shortly after 6 p.m. Responding officers found Barry in her cell in the midst of what appeared to be a life-threatening situation.

Deputy Schmidt shared that, based on information from other inmates, there was a suspicion that Barry was suffering from a drug overdose. In a desperate attempt to save her life, the first dose of Naloxone HCI, commonly known as Narcan, was administered at 6:07 p.m. Despite administering a total of six doses, along with performing chest compressions and utilizing an automated external defibrillator (AED), their efforts were in vain. Barry could not be revived and was pronounced deceased.

In the wake of this incident, Barry’s status as an inmate necessitated an independent investigation, which is being carried out by the Oneida County Sheriff’s Office. Additionally, the Wisconsin Department of Corrections is conducting its own investigation into the matter.

Deputy Schmidt emphasized the seriousness and sensitivity of the ongoing investigations, stating, “We cannot release any of the findings so far, as this is an ongoing investigation. He also noted that the next of kin were informed, along with Ashland County authorities and the leadership of the Bad River Tribe, signifying the broad impact of this unfortunate event.

This incident has raised questions about the protocols and safety measures in place at the Vilas County Jail, especially in regards to handling medical emergencies and potential drug-related issues among inmates. It also highlights the critical need for effective communication and rapid response systems within correctional facilities to prevent such tragedies.

The local community and Barry’s family await further details as the investigations proceed.

The loss of Jessica Barry under these circumstances is a stark reminder of the challenges and responsibilities inherent in the management of correctional facilities and the welfare of those in custody.

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Mike has been coming up or living in the Northwoods since his childhood.
He is also an avid outdoorsman, writer and supper club aficionado.

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