Updated at 12:17 p.m.
A 34-year-old man who had been incarcerated at Northern State Correctional Facility in Newport was pronounced dead Saturday at North Country Hospital.
According to the Vermont State Police, Michael Cornell of Newport was “found in his cell” by Department of Corrections staff shortly before noon on Saturday. Prison employees and first responders administered emergency care before transporting him to North Country Hospital, which is also located in Newport. He was pronounced dead at the hospital just after 1 p.m.
Cornell had been housed in a quarantine unit at Northern State following an outside medical appointment, according to the Department of Corrections.
The circumstances of Cornell’s death were not immediately clear. In separate statements, the department and the state police said it did not appear suspicious.
Defender General Matthew Valerio, who oversees the Office of Prisoners’ Rights, said the information the department provided him “does not suggest foul play or self harm.” But, he said, “there is a fair amount of information to collect to determine what happened here.”
In accordance with state law, the state police and Office of Prisoners’ Rights plan to investigate Cornell’s death. The Department of Corrections also plans to conduct internal administrative and medical reviews, according to spokesperson Rachel Feldman. The state’s Office of the Chief Medical Examiner is expected to perform an autopsy.
According to the department's online database, Cornell was being held on charges of assault and robbery, burglary and domestic assault.
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