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Family wants answers after man dies from fentanyl overdose in Thurston County Jail

Five other fentanyl overdoses were reported at the jail since the beginning of the month. One person is still in critical condition.

OLYMPIA, Wash. — One incarcerated person died from a fentanyl overdose at the Thurston County Jail on Monday. 

According to a press release from the Thurston County Sheriff's Office (TCSO), there have been five other reported overdoses in the jail just this month. 

One other inmate is still in critical condition in the hospital. Four people were revived at the jail.

On March 9, corrections officers and medical staff responded to a medical emergency at 7:25 p.m. in one of the jail's housing areas. They found a man in his late 20s unresponsive in his cell. He was taken to Providence St. Peter Hospital where he passed away on Monday.

Then, on Tuesday, corrections officers found a man in his 30s unresponsive in his cell around midnight. He was taken to the hospital where he remains in critical condition.

Thurston County Coroner Gary Warnock has identified the inmate who died as Alec Nieland-Herrera, 28.

He was in the Thurston County jail awaiting a trial in April on a robbery charge.

Nieland-Herrera's grandmother, Peggy Nieland, said Nieland-Herrera was a father of two young boys who struggled with drug addiction.

"There was no crime that he did that was a death sentence," said Nieland.

She described him as a good father who loved his children.

Neiland said her grandson had been in and out of county jails over the past two years.

She was glad to know doctors were able to harvest Nieland's organs before he was declared dead.

"Five people are going to get a second chance. That's a blessing in it all," said Nieland.

She said the family wants to know how the drugs that killed her grandson and likely caused the other overdoses got into the jail.

"Maybe it'll save someone else," said Neiland.

Investigations into the overdoses will be conducted by the Mason County Sheriff's Office and the Region 3 Critical Incident Investigation Team.

According to TCSO, corrections officers and on-site medical staff provided CPR and Narcan to every person who overdosed.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates. 

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