San Diego Central Jail
The San Diego Central Jail is shown on March 11, 2021.

The Medical Examiner’s Office said that following an autopsy, officials could not yet establish the cause of death of a National City man at San Diego Central Jail, but more tests were pending.

Deputies staffing the downtown detention center found Lonnie Newton Rupard, 46, unconscious and unresponsive in his single-occupant cell about 10:45 p.m. Thursday, according to the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department.

Jail personnel tried in vain to revive the inmate prior to the arrival of paramedics, who took over the lifesaving attempts and transported him to a hospital. Doctors there pronounced him dead.

Rupard did not appear to have suffered any traumatic injuries, and investigators have found no evidence of suspicious circumstances in connection with his death, sheriff’s Lt. Joel Stranger said.

Officials in the Medical Examiner’s Office noted: “There were no signs of trauma and Rupard did not presumptively test positive for any illegal substances,” Stranger said. “The cause and manner of death are pending laboratory results and further evaluation.”

Rupard had been in county jail since Dec. 19, when National City police arrested him for allegedly violating the terms of his conditional release from state prison. He had served a nearly two-year term stemming from a 2019 assault conviction, the lieutenant said.

– City News Service