On April 16, the Aitkin County Sheriff’s Department issued a press release regarding a recent inmate death.

The death had been brought up at the Aitkin County Board meeting April 13, and discussed briefly there as Sheriff Dan Guida gave an update on the Minnesota Department of Corrections report on the county jail.

According to the press release, the Aitkin County Sheriff’s Department responded to a vehicle in the ditch in Beaver Creek at 11 a.m. March 30.

The driver of the vehicle, Karen I. Maki, 64, refused medical treatment from the McGregor Ambulance staff. The release said that “Maki exhibited signs of intoxication,” as well as smelling of alcohol. An on-scene preliminary breath test read .20 alcohol concentration, and Maki was arrested and transported to the Aitkin County Jail on charges of third degree driving while intoxicated.

That evening, while tending to Maki, jail staff noticed a change in her physical condition and potential seizure activity. She was immediately transported by ambulance to Riverwood Healthcare Center.

After a few hours at Riverwood Healthcare Center, Maki was released back to the Aitkin County Jail.

The release said that staff was in constant contact with Maki, who appeared to be unable to care for herself and was in need of “constant nursing supervision.”

At 9:40 p.m. March 31, Maki was transported by ambulance back to Riverwood. She was pronounced dead at the center April 4.

The release said that “a provisional autopsy conducted by the Ramsey County Medical Examiner indicates several findings including seizure disorder, cerebromalacia (abnormal softening of cerebral parenchymal tissue, often secondary to an ischemic event) and hepatic cirrhosis.”

Guida confirmed that the DOC investigation is ongoing and that his department is cooperating.

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