Texas Rangers investigating death of female inmate

Jail MGN

A female inmate was found unresponsive last Thursday at the Port Isabel municipal jail, according to the latest custodial death report released by the Texas attorney general’s office.

Sharla Jean Williams, 48, was found unresponsive in her cell at 11:03 a.m. on June 25. The autopsy results and cause of death are pending, according to the report.

The document stated she was taken into custody on Wednesday, June 24, at 6:30 p.m. by Port Isabel police and placed in a single cell.

Charges were not filed at the time of her death, though under a section entitled “types of charges or reason for contact” the offense type was listed as “Violent Crime Against Persons.”

The report indicated Williams appeared intoxicated when she was booked into the facility.

In a summary of the incident, an officer wrote, “On Thursday, June 25, 2020 at approximately 11:04 A.M., I was in the office when I then heard Laguna Vista Officer James Hernandez say on the radio, ‘Call EMS, unresponsive female!’ I then ran to the booking area and observed Officer Hernandez standing by cell #3.”

“I entered cell #3 and observed a female laying on the concrete bed, on her back with her left arm over her head. I immediately checked for a pulse but there was not one. Female subject, later identified as Sharla Jean Williams, was stiff and cold to the touch.”

According to the document, Port Isabel EMS arrived at approximately 11:04 a.m. Officers contacted the Texas Rangers, who advised to secure the scene and “for no one to go in there”, the report stated.

Laguna Vista Police Chief Tony David and Commander Ricky Gonzalez arrived approximately 13 minutes later. Texas Ranger Antonio “Tony” Rocha arrived at the scene just past midnight and took over the investigation, according to the document.

The Texas Department of Public Safety wrote in a statement on Thursday, “The department can confirm the Texas Rangers are investigating. This is an active and ongoing investigation, and as such, no additional information is available at this time.”

esheridan@brownsvilleherald.com