Charlotte County Jail

Charlotte County Jail

PUNTA GORDA — All procedures were “adequately” followed by jail employees related to the suicide deaths of two inmates last year, according to Charlotte County Sheriff’s Office internal affairs investigations.

On Nov. 22, CCSO corrections deputies discovered inmate Hailee Lynn Mathews, 25, alone in her cell at the Charlotte County Jail with a sheet around her neck. Deputies untied the sheet and they, along with jail medical staff, performed life-saving measures until she was taken to Bayfront Health Punta Gorda.

She succumbed to her injuries four days later at the hospital.

On Dec. 26, CCSO corrections deputies found inmate Doug James Gow, 57, at the rear of his cell alone with a sheet around his neck. Deputies untied the sheet and they, along with jail medical staff, performed life-saving measures until Charlotte County Fire and EMS took over.

Gow was pronounced dead soon after.

Both inmates were isolated in their cells as a requirement of 14-day quarantine protocols during the COVID-19 pandemic.

CCSO Major Crimes detectives found that both in-custody deaths were the result of “intentional self-infliction” and the manner of death was suicide.

Hailee Lynn Mathews

Hailee Lynn Mathews

HAILEE LYNN MATHEWS

Mathews was booked into the Charlotte County Jail on Nov. 20, at 2:47 a.m. on charges of possession of a controlled substance without a prescription and possession of drug paraphernalia.

She had been involved in 70 incidents involving Charlotte County law enforcement since 2014, including four arrests for narcotics and theft charges in Charlotte County, according to the report.

Mathews was placed under medical observation due to potential opiate detoxification — a normal procedure with her charges.

10:30 a.m., Nov. 22

A nurse spoke with Mathews and checked her vitals, including blood pressure, temperature, respirations and pulse oxygen and found them to be normal. The nurse reported Mathews was dehydrated as a result of the detoxification process and made her drink water before leaving.

The nurse reported no psychiatric concerns and Mathews made no concerning or overt suicidal statements during the conversation.

11:29 a.m., Nov. 22

Detention deputies checked on Mathews before lunch was served. No concerns about her well-being were reported.


11:50 a.m., Nov. 22

During lunch service, corrections deputies found Mathews in her cell with a sheet around her neck, according to the report.

Deputies immediately untied the sheet and started performing CPR on Mathews.

Jail medical staff arrived shortly after and continued life-saving measures.

Mathews was transported by Charlotte County Fire and EMS to Bayfront Health Punta Gorda where she succumbed to her self-inflicted injuries Nov. 26, 2020, the report stated.

Doug James Gow

Doug James Gow

DOUG JAMES GOW

Gow was booked into Charlotte County Jail Dec. 23, on a petty theft charge. He was listed as homeless on a booking report.

6:22 p.m., Dec. 26

CCSO corrections deputies checked the inmates, noting that Gow was freely moving around his cell.

6:49 p.m., Dec. 26

Corrections deputies on their next check found Gow with a sheet around his neck at the rear of the cell.

Deputies entered the cell, immediately untied the sheet, which was wedged between the wall and the fire sprinkler inside the cell, and started performing CPR.

Jail medical staff arrived shortly after and continued life-saving measures.

7:05 p.m., Dec. 26

Charlotte County Fire and EMS took over care for Gow.

7:15 p.m., Dec. 26

Gow was pronounced dead by Charlotte County Fire personnel and the scene was secured.

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