Inmate dies at Sarasota County jail cell after arrest on drug charges

38-year-old woman had been charged with possession of controlled substances without a prescription

A 38-year-old Sarasota woman who had been jailed on two counts of possession of a controlled substance without a prescription was found deceased in her cell in the Sarasota County Jail on May 15, the Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office reported.

Correctional Facility personnel are investigating the incident, a news release says.

At 6:26 a.m. on Sunday, May 15, Corrections Division deputies found Rachel Elizabeth Morgan “unresponsive in her cell in the medical wing of the facility,” the release adds. “Life-saving efforts were initiated by both corrections deputies and medical personnel,” the release points out. However, in spite of attempts to resuscitate her, the release continues, “Morgan was pronounced dead at 6:43 a.m.”

“No signs of trauma were evident, and there was no known use of force against the decedent,” the release says.

Morgan was being held under total bond of $3,000 in the two felony cases, her Corrections Division record noted. Sarasota Police Department personnel arrested her on May 13, it added.

Morgan, who lived at 3701 Ferguson St., in Sarasota, was arrested just before 9:30 p.m. on May 13 in the 1900 block of 18th St. in Sarasota, her Probable Cause Affidavit said. Her home address is in a neighborhood east of South Beneva Road and north of Clark Road, a map shows.

About 7:55 p.m. on May 13, the affidavit explained, officers responded to the 18th Street address after receiving a call about two people who appeared to be unconscious in a dark green Nissan Rogue. The male in the driver’s seat was transported to Sarasota Memorial Hospital for treatment under the state’s Marchman Act, the affidavit added. The passenger, Morgan, “was found to be in possession of Alprazolam (Xanax) and Dextroamphetamine (Adderall),” the affidavit said.

When the officers approached the vehicle, the affidavit continued, neither the driver nor Morgan appeared to be aware of their presence, the affidavit noted. Both were observed to be sweating, it said.

While the driver responded to one officer’s attempt to rouse him, the document added, he “was not coherent.” Sarasota County Fire Department personnel transported him to the hospital, the affidavit noted.

Morgan “was able to wake up and remained at the scene,” the affidavit said.

The responding officers found a small plastic bag with white residue in it in plain view on the floorboard of the front driver’s side of the Nissan, the affidavit continued. In searching the vehicle, they also found “one Xanax bar in a Lucky Strike cigarette box” in the driver’s door. Further, the affidavit noted, pills were scattered in the center console. “Morgan claimed ownership of the pills,” which included atomexetine hydrochloride in 25 mg and 60 mg doses, the affidavit pointed out, but she could not provide a prescription for the 25 mg pills. She then showed officers photos of prescriptions for the other pills, which she identified as having been sent to her from her sister, Courtney.

WebMD says atomexetine hydrochloride is used to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), as Adderall is.

After asking Morgan for identification, the affidavit said, one of the officers noticed that as she searched through her wallet, she had a small plastic bag with a Xanax bar inside the wallet. During a further search of the wallet by one of the officers, the affidavit continued, two Adderall pills were discovered inside a small plastic bag. Those pills were identified by their markings, the affidavit explained.

“Morgan denied ownership of the Xanax and Adderall in her wallet,” the affidavit said. She told the officers that the pills belonged to the driver; she believed that he had taken her wallet and placed them in there “without her knowledge,” the affidavit added.

Further, Morgan told the officers that she has a prescription for Xanax, but when she called her sister to find it, the sister was unable to do so, the affidavit noted.

In 12th Judicial Circuit Court records on the case, The Sarasota News Leaderfound an email that a booking technician with the Sheriff’s Office’s Corrections Division sent to Chief Judge Charles Roberts just before 8:30 a.m. on May 15, explaining that Morgan had died in custody.

The only other record the News Leader found in the Circuit Court files regarding Morgan showed that she was charged with speeding in a 2005 case. That docket indicates that she paid the applicable fine.