An adult woman died while in custody at the NORCOR jail facility on Feb. 4.

Just after 3:30 p.m., emergency medical personnel from Mid-Columbia Fire and Rescue responded to the medical clinic inside the facility for a female that was suffering an apparent medical crisis, according to a NORCOR press release. Upon arrival, emergency crews attempted lifesaving efforts, which were unsuccessful, according to the press release.

A conditional release agreement was created for her to go to the hospital, but she died before she could be transported, according to Wasco County District Attorney Eric Nisley.

The woman was identified as 26-year-old Jennifer McLaren of Odell. McLaren had been in custody at NORCOR since Jan. 24, 2020, on charges originating in Hood River County, according to the press release.

McLaren was on probation from Wasco County Circuit Court for an Unlawful Possession of Heroin charge that was sentenced in September 2018, and her probation was scheduled to end in June 2021.

“Very tragic, very sad to see somebody lose their life so young,” said Nisley.

At the time of her passing, McLaren was being held in an individual cell within the booking area, under observation by NORCOR corrections deputies.

“She was in a cell by herself because she was uncomfortable,” said Nisley, adding that keeping someone under observation in the booking area is fairly standard for that type of situation.

“They can keep a better eye on somebody when they’re in there,” he said. She was being treated by NORCOR medical staff for injuries sustained prior to her entry into NORCOR, according to the press release.

Because the death occured in a correctional facility, an autopsy will be conducted Thursday (after press time) by the Oregon State Medical Examiner’s Office.  

The Wasco County Sheriff’s Office and the Wasco County District Attorney’s Office will  investigate the incident.  

Questions should be directed to the Wasco County District Attorney’s Office at or 541-506-2680.

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