Cell by Cell: The complete list of people who died in Oklahoma jails in 2020


The Frontier is again tracking every jail death in Oklahoma in 2020. We hope to uncover more about how and why people die in Oklahoma jails.

Did we miss an incident or would you like to talk to us about one listed below? Email Kassie@readfrontier.com.

Prior years: 

No. 3

Michael Guthrie.

Name: Michael Guthrie
Age: 47
Died: Jan. 13, 2020
Location: Muskogee County Jail 
Cause and manner of death: Undetermined
What happened: Guthrie was assaulted by another inmate on January 3, and taken to a hospital for treatment according to KTUL. Guthrie was treated at the hospital, cleared and released back to custody.

Guthrie’s health started to deteriorate later that day and he was again transported to a hospital where he died, according to KTUL.  

OSBI is investigating his death. 

No. 2

Photo unavailable

Name: Michael Reagan Jr. 
Age: 44
Died: Jan. 13, 2020
Location: Okmulgee County Criminal Justice Authority 
Cause and manner of death: Undetermined
What happened: 

Updated story, Jan. 15, 2020: Reagan appeared to be having a seizure in his cell on January 13, according to an incident report jail staff sent to the state jail inspector. He reportedly also had a cut on the back of his head, the report states. 

Jailers placed Reagan in a wheelchair and took him to the nursing office to be assessed, the report states. He was placed in a cell for medical observation. About 30 minutes later, Reagan appeared to again have a seizure. Jail transport was told he needed to be taken to a hospital. After another 15 minutes had passed, the man appeared to have another seizure, according to the report. 

Reagan became unresponsive, the report states. A nurse checked for a pulse but could not find one. He was taken to a local hospital where he was pronounced dead.

Original story: Reagan experienced a medical episode shortly after being booked into the jail, said District 25 District Attorney Carol Iski. The medical team at the jail immediately called an ambulance, and Reagan was taken to a local hospital, Iski said.

Reagan again had a medical episode at the hospital, where he later died, Iski said. 

Iski said there is no investigation pending into Reagan’s death and no foul play is suspected. 

Reagan was booked into the jail after being indicted on federal charges on Jan. 10, 2020. 

No. 1

Lawanda Ward
LaWanda Ward.

Name: LaWanda Ward
Age: 46
Died: Jan. 6, 2020
Location: Tulsa Municipal Jail
Cause and manner of death: Undetermined
What happened: Ward was arrested on January 2 on six municipal misdemeanor warrants, according to a news release from the Tulsa Police Department. A spokesman initially stated Ward turned herself in. 

Ward told officers upon arrest that she did not feel well, TPD Sgt. Shane Tuell said. Officers notified EMSA paramedics, who cleared the woman for incarceration, he said.

Tuell said Ward was routinely checked in while at the jail, as inmates normally are. On the morning of January 6, Ward was found unresponsive in her cell and was transported to a Tulsa hospital where she was pronounced dead 20 minutes following her arrival, according to an incident report the city sent to the state jail inspector. 

Ward was last seen sleeping in her bunk that morning, the report states. 

TPD has opened an investigation into her death, Tuell said. Tuell said Ward was involved in no altercations and did not indicate she was a danger to herself. 

Ward was scheduled to appear before a judge the morning she died, records show. 

Tuell said the death is the facility’s first since it opened in 2018.

TPD has requested that the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation investigate Ward’s death.

Your financial support for our investigative journalism is now tax deductible. Click here to become a Friend of The Frontier.

Kassie McClung

Staff writer

Kassie McClung joined The Frontier in May 2016. She reports on health, criminal justice and other state issues. Kassie holds a bachelors degree in multimedia journalism from Oklahoma State University. She likes dogs, maps and data. She can be reached at Kassie@readfrontier.com or 918-935-1044. Follow her on Twitter @KassieMcClung.