Family of Oklahoma County detainee who died in jail cell searching for answers


OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – A local family is searching for answers in the death of a detainee at the Oklahoma County Jail in the early hours of Thursday morning.

31-year-old Lee Chouteau was arrested for DUI by the Oklahoma Highway Patrol and booked into jail around 1 a.m. Thursday.

Jail officials say he was being combative and not cooperating during the booking process.

A caller told KFOR he had head wounds from his arrest.

The jail says they checked him out but didn’t find anything major.

“He was seen by medical staff when he was brought in and there was a laceration if you will on his head, but the medical staff had determined that really that was not a significant kind of an injury,” Jail Administrator Greg Williams said.

KFOR requested the report from the Highway Patrol but hasn’t received it. 

The Medical Examiner’s office will determine the cause of death.

Williams says Chouteau was put in a cell to rest but was found unresponsive 15 hours later.

The jail says they’re talking to staff members to see if he was checked on during that time.

“That will be part of our investigation, and we’ll go back, we’re in the process right now of interviewing all the staff and talking, that will be part of the investigation,” Williams said.

Chouteau’s sister, Rachel Kimbrough, says the way her brother was described by officials is out of character.

“We just don’t understand. He’s not a violent person. He was quiet, he kept to himself,” Kimbrough said.

She also says her family is struggling to get answers.

“There’s so many questions, and all my dad and my mother want to know is what happened,” she said. “He’s a great guy, I just can’t imagine anyone saying he was otherwise, that he was combative enough to just die in a holding cell by himself.”

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