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Inmate died of aspiration pneumonia.

Byline: Jack Moran The Register-Guard

COTTAGE GROVE - An autopsy conducted Monday by the deputy state medical examiner for Lane County indicated that a 24-year-old man found dead early Saturday morning in a cell of the Cottage Grove Municipal Jail died of aspiration pneumonia. Toxicology results are pending.

The dead man was identified as Nathan Scott Cooper of Cottage Grove.

Oregon State Police troopers said they are continuing to investigate Cooper's death, but there is no indication that he died as a result of a crime.

Cooper was sentenced on a drug-related charge to confinement at the jail on April 26. The next day, he was released for medical treatment related to drug withdrawal symptoms, police said.

After Cooper failed to return as ordered, he was arrested April 30 and brought to the jail, police said.

Cottage Grove police found Cooper's body around 5 a.m. Saturday, about five days after he went back to jail.

State police Lt. Gregg Hastings said officers at the jail had monitored Cooper during his time in custody. State police said there were no signs of physical injury or foul play.

Cottage Grove Police Chief Mike Grover said a police department investigation into the incident concluded that officers followed all department policies and procedures when dealing with Cooper.

Citing the ongoing investigation, Grover declined to talk specifically about Cooper's medical issues while in jail.

The city has operated a 16-bed jail since the 1980s. Grover said Cooper's death is the first to occur in the facility.

According to the National Institutes of Health, aspiration pneumonia is inflammation of the lungs and bronchial tubes, and occurs after breathing in foreign material.
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Title Annotation:Local News
Publication:The Register-Guard (Eugene, OR)
Date:May 8, 2012
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