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Inmate at state prison in Tucson dies by apparent suicide; Pima County Jail inmate dies from unknown illness

Officials say an inmate died by apparent suicide at the Arizona state prison in Tucson. Just 10 days earlier, an inmate in Pima County Jail died from an illness.

TUCSON, Ariz. — Authorities say an inmate at the Arizona state prison in Tucson has died and it appears to be a suicide. 

Officials with the Arizona Department of Corrections, Rehabilitation and Re-entry say 39-year-old Michael Walton died Sunday “from an apparent act of self-harm by hanging.” 

They say prison staff found Walton unresponsive in his cell Sunday morning and he was pronounced dead by medical personnel. 

Corrections officials say Walton was sent to prison in 2009 after being sentenced life out of Maricopa County on three counts of first-degree murder and one count of armed robbery. All inmate deaths are investigated in consultation with the county medical examiner’s office.

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Officials are also investigating the death of a Pima County Jail inmate who was taken to a hospital after he became ill. 

County Sheriff’s officials say 24-year-old Pedro Xavier Martinez Palacio was declared dead by hospital staff on Jan. 14. 

They say Palacio alerted a corrections officer that he needed medical help on Jan. 10. Palacio was taken to the jail’s medical unit for further evaluation. Shortly thereafter, it was determined that Palacio needed to be transported to a hospital. 

Due to the inmate’s declining condition, sheriff’s detectives went to the jail to investigate but no signs of trauma or suspicious circumstances were found. Sheriff’s officials say Palacio’s cause of death is pending an autopsy by the county  medical examiner’s office.

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