Benton County Inmate Dies Awaiting Psychiatric Transfer

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Mug shot of Faith Whitcomb from 2011.

A Decatur woman who was waiting for space to open at the state mental hospital was found dead in her Benton County jail cell Thursday.

Faith Denise Whitcomb, 52, was found face down in a cell about 4:20 a.m. by jailers making regular checks, Benton County Sheriff Keith Ferguson said. Jail staff last saw her alive at 3 a.m.

It doesn’t appear to be suicide, and there were no obvious injuries, Ferguson said.

Whitcomb was arrested in July on felony drug possession and manufacturing charges, jail reports show.

On Nov. 7, a judge ordered her to undergo care at the State Hospital in Little Rock, and she had been in jail since.

The last inmate to die in the county jail was Donald Winters, 60, on Jan. 1, 2003. Winters, who’d been under psychiatric care, was also waiting for bed space at the State Hospital when he died.