A 40-year-old Oregon woman accused of raping an underage boy has been found dead in her jail cell.
Tina Ketcham was found hanging in her cell in the Linn County Jail around 5 a.m. on March 11. Ketcham was unresponsive, and deputies immediately entered the cell, called for medics and began live-saving measures, according to a news release by the Linn County Sheriff’s office.
The Benton County Sheriff’s Office, in coordination with the Linn County medical examiner, is conducting an investigation into Ketcham’s death, the Albany Democrat reported.
Ketcham was arraigned on March 9 on six counts of first-degree rape, two counts of first-degree sex abuse, one count of first-degree sodomy and six other sex crimes after being initially arrested in Feb. 25.
First-degree rape, first-degree sodomy and first-degree sex abuse are “measure 11” crimes in Oregon that carry mandatory minimum sentences of several years in prison.
She was due to stand trial on April 8.
Tina Ketcham could have been facing “hundreds of charges”
The crimes occurred between 2015 and earlier this year, court documents say.
“This is a situation where hundreds of charges could have been brought,” prosecutor Keith Stein told a court hearing in Albany, Oregon.
Ketcham was being held on $350,000 bail and had attempted suicide twice since the Albany police began their investigation in mid-February, when the minor made the allegations.
No identifying information such as the age or relationship of the alleged victim has been released. However, prosecutors said Ketcham knew the underage boy.
Ketcham had no criminal history, was not deemed to be a flight risk since she is part-owner in a local business, defense attorney Steve Doyle of Portland said at his client’s bail hearing.
Ketcham was not on suicide watch and showed no signs of distress, Linn County Sheriff Jim Yon said. However, she was in protective custody and in a cell by herself.