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59-year-old woman dies at Racine Co. Jail; preliminary reports indicate natural causes

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Barbara Beachem

RACINE — The Racine County Sheriff’s Office is investigating the death of a 59-year-old woman which occurred in the Racine County Jail.

According to RCSO officials, on November 26th around 11:30 a.m., Barbara Beachem was found unresponsive in her cell.  Life-saving measures were immediately performed by jail staff, but were ultimately unsuccessful.

Beachem was pronounced dead at the scene.

RCSO officials said Beachem interacted with jail staff and was observed walking in the dayroom just 38 minutes prior to rescue being called.  During the interaction, she appeared normal, did not appear to be in distress and did not make any health complaints.

Sheriff’s officials said she was sentenced on September 25th for maintaining a drug trafficking place and manufacturing/delivering heroin.

The Milwaukee County Medical Examiner’s Office is conducting the autopsy and preliminary reports indicate Beacham appears to have died of natural causes.


“I am grateful for the quick response and heartfelt efforts my staff displayed as they raced to her aid and rendered life-saving measures.  Despite their best efforts, Ms. Beacham passed.  Our deepest sympathies go out to her family and friends at this very difficult time,” Racine County Sheriff Christopher Schmaling said in a press release.

RCSO officials noted the Racine County Jail had not had an inmate death in the jail in over 5 years.

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