Cleveland County Sheriff’s Office identifies inmate who hanged himself

Feb. 25—A Cleveland County Detention Center inmate found hanged in his jail cell was identified Saturday morning as Joe Allen Sims Jr., according to the Cleveland County Sheriff’s Office.

Detention center staff found Sims “unresponsive in his cell” late Friday afternoon.

“The inmate was found hanging with a cloth wrapped around his neck,” the sheriff’s office reported. “Detention employees and medical personnel immediately began life-saving measures, but sadly he was not able to be revived.”

Sheriff’s office detectives and the Oklahoma Bureau of Investigation are investigating the death, the office reported.

The death was the third reported by the sheriff’s office since Dec. 8, when Shannon Hanchett, a 38-year-old Norman business owner, was found dead in her jail cell.

Noble resident Kathryn Milano, 66, died Dec. 20 after suffering a medical emergency “related to pre-existing medical conditions,” the sheriff’s office reported Dec. 29.

The detention center, which is operated by the sheriff’s office, is facing scrutiny over the deaths. Both women struggled with physical and mental health issues at the time of their arrests, friends and family have told The Transcript.

The state Medical Examiner’s office will provide an official cause of death, the office reported Saturday.

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