Prosecutor: Fort Smith Inmate’s Death Of Natural Causes, No Charges To Be Filed

FORT SMITH (KFSM) — A woman arrested by Fort Smith Police died of natural causes while in the jail, and no charges will be filed, the prosecuting attorney announced Wednesday.

Daniel Shue, prosecutor for the 12th Judicial District, made the announcement regarding the death of Elizabeth Marie Beesley, who was being booked into the Sebastian County Adult Detention Center on July 1 when “she began to experience a medical crisis during the booking procedure.” Beesley was taken to Baptist Hospital in Fort Smith, where she died on July 6, Shue said.

Shue said he reviewed reports, digital media and the autopsy report before deciding that “no criminal charges can be filed against any person with regard to this death.”

The autopsy listed the cause of death as “Anoxic Encephalopathy due to Atherosclerotic Cardiovascular Disease complicated by methamphetamine use.”

Anoxic encephalopathy is when the brain is deprived of oxygen, causing injury. In Beesley’s case, the coroner determined that a buildup of plaque in her arteries contributed to a lack of oxygen in her brain, which was exacerbated by methamphetamine. The coroner said Beesley tested positive for methamphetamine at the time of her death, and that the meth “is known to accelerate and exacerbate underlying heart disease.”

Beesley was arrested July 1 on a warrant during a traffic stop by the Fort Smith Police. Shue said she was “unusually animated during the transport to the detention center,” but because she was coherent and responsive, no one was alarmed.

During booking, she became more agitated and fell to the floor. EMS was called and began treating her before taking her to the hospital, where she remained in critical condition until her death five days later, Shue said.

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