Cell by Cell: Tracking every jail death in Oklahoma

Over the past five years, at least 115 people have died in Oklahoma jails


The Frontier is tracking every jail death in Oklahoma in 2019. We hope to uncover more about how and why people die in Oklahoma jails. 

Delbert Lloyd Phillips


Name: Delbert Lloyd Phillips
Died: March 12, 2019
Location: Pittsburg County Jail, McAlester
What happened: A detention officer found Phillips in a cell hanging from the top bunk at about 5:30 a.m. Emergency responders pronounced Phillips dead at the scene, according to a jail incident report. Phillips was being held in the jail for alleged aggravated possession of child pornography.

Nico Lee Collins


Name: Nico Lee Collins
Age: 29
Died: Feb. 5, 2019
Location: Cimarron County Jail, Boise City
What happened: Collins was booked into the jail for public intoxication and placed into a cell alone, according to the Cimarron County Sheriff’s Office. About five hours after arriving at the jail, staff observed Collins move to the back of the cell near a toilet and sink, where he fabricated a device to use in an apparent suicide by asphyxiation.
Intake documents completed at the time of Collins entry to the facility did not indicate he was at risk of self-harm, according to the Sheriff’s office.

Krysten Gonzalez


Name: Krysten Mischelle Gonzales
Age: 29
Died: Jan. 8, 2019
Location: Oklahoma County Detention Center, Oklahoma City
What happened: Gonzales was being held in the jail on a warrant for failure to appear. The Oklahoman reported Gonzales had been waiting at the jail for three months while the Oklahoma County Public Defender’s office searched for a bed for her at an in-patient mental health facility. An incident report filed by the Oklahoma County Sheriff’s Office stated that while a detention officer was doing sight checks,  she noticed the window of Gonzales’ cell was covered and then found her unresponsive in her cell. Gonzalez was later pronounced dead at OU Medical Center. The state medical examiner’s office has ruled the death a suicide by hanging.

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Brianna Bailey

Brianna Bailey grew up in Idaho. Oklahoma is her adopted home. Bailey has covered issues ranging from Oklahoma's strained child welfare system to the slow decline of Oklahoma's rural hospitals. She has walked all the way across Oklahoma City twice, once north-to south via Western Avenue and once via the old U.S. Route 66. Her hobbies are baking and crashing meetings she isn't invited to attend. She holds a bachelor's degree in journalism from The University of Oklahoma. Email her at brianna@readfrontier.com