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Local MHMR patient dies at Austin hospital

Local MHMR patient dies at Austin hospital

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The death of a College Station woman shortly after she was transported by Brazos County deputies to a state psychiatric hospital Saturday remained under investigation by several agencies a day later.

The 29-year-old woman -driven to Austin State Hospital by two sheriff's deputies - did not respond to officers upon arrival at the state facility where she was supposed to be committed, Sheriff Chris Kirk said. She was pronounced dead after being rushed by ambulance to a nearby Austin medical hospital.

The inquiry by Kirk's department, the Texas Rangers and Department of Public Safety, which became involved because the incident occurred on state property, is considered standard procedure, Kirk said.

An autopsy was ordered and preliminary results are expected this week, according to Kirk, who said the woman was taken to the College Station Medical Center for a drug overdose and was committed after being evaluated by officials with the Mental Health Mental Retardation Authority of the Brazos Valley.

Kirk said he didn't know what the woman's condition was at the start of the approximately 90-mile trip but stressed that there was no indication the deputies did anything wrong. He declined to release the woman's name, citing medical confidentiality rules. He also would not release the names of the two deputies - one male, one female - tasked with the woman's transport.

"At this point in time, I can't really give you a lot of information because we don't have it," Kirk said Sunday, explaining that he hoped more information would be available Monday. "Obviously, there is an investigation going on."

When the deputies arrived at Austin State Hospital, the woman had a pulse but shallow breathing, Kirk said. An ambulance was called to take the woman to a medical hospital after a doctor at the psychiatric facility saw her condition, Kirk said.

The sheriff said he didn't know when the woman was taken to the College Station hospital or when she and the deputies left for Austin, but he said the ambulance in Austin was called at about 9:30 p.m. Saturday.

It was unclear Sunday whether the woman had been released straight into deputy custody from the College Station Medical Center. College Station Medical Center spokeswoman Melissa Purl could not be reached late Sunday for comment.

• Holly Huffman's e-mail address is holly.huffman@theeagle.com.

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