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Autopsy: Columbia County inmates died after exposure to fentanyl

Simon Henrickson & Thomas Tinghino died at institution in September

LAKE CITY, Fla. – An autopsy report obtained Tuesday by News4Jax reveals new information about two inmates at the Columbia Correctional Institution, who investigators said overdosed and died at the facility in September.

The Florida Department of Corrections said a third inmate was taken to a hospital for treatment, and that 19 corrections officers were checked for symptoms related to potential drug exposure.

Simon Henrickson and Thomas Tinghino were the two inmates who died. Autopsy reports for both men state that “toxicology shows a lethal level of fentanyl” was in their bodies.

It’s unclear how the drugs got into the facility. News4Jax crime and safety expert Ken Jefferson said despite prisons having non-stop security, it’s not uncommon for drugs to get inside.

The Florida Department of Corrections sent an email to News4Jax that reads in part: “We have received your request and are checking to see what information may be releasable at this time.”

A video (below) from the Department of Corrections warns visitors about trying to bring contraband drugs into prisons.

Records show that in 2012, Sgt. Ruben Thomas was stabbed to death by an inmate at Columbia Correctional. In Sept. 2018, four inmates were taken to a hospital after a fight, and a gun was brought into the prison.

According to the Department of Corrections, 20 people have died in the Columbia Correctional Institution Annex since 2014. Those fatalities include three homicides and six accidental deaths.

It’s unclear whether the inmates were attempting to get high or if they were accidentally exposed to fentanyl.


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