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AG's office: No criminal conduct found in Davis County inmate's death

AG's office: No criminal conduct found in Davis County inmate's death

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SALT LAKE CITY — Despite her family's claims that her death is suspicious, the Utah Attorney General's Office announced Friday that the fatal injuries Heather Miller sustained while in custody of the Davis County Jail were "not the result of criminal conduct."

In a brief statement released Friday afternoon, the attorney general's office said it had concluded its investigation, ending any consideration of criminal charges connected to the 18-year-old woman's death.

"Upon completion of the thorough investigation and in cooperation with Weber County Sheriff's Office, the matter was presented to the Attorney General's Office Justice Division's Special Prosecution Section which determined Ms. Miller's death was not the result of criminal conduct. The applicable standard for a prosecutor to apply to the evidence gathered in an investigation is whether there is a reasonable likelihood of conviction at trial," the statement read.

The statement from the attorney general's office also included condolences for Miller's family.

"Whenever a life is lost it is a tragedy and we recognize the impact is felt by many. The Attorney General's Office extends its sincere sympathies to the family of Ms. Miller for her passing," the statement read.

On Dec. 20, Miller was arrested in Clearfield and booked into the Davis County Jail at 4:19 a.m. for investigation of meth and heroin possession, and possession of drug paraphernalia.

Just before 9 p.m. the next day, she was taken from the jail by ambulance to McKay Dee Hospital where she was pronounced dead a short time later.

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According to an autopsy report from the Utah State Medical Examiner's Office, "Miller died as a result of blunt force injuries of abdomen sustained when she reportedly fell from the upper bunk in her cell while attempting to climb down about a day and a half after being booked into the jail."

Medical personnel at the jail checked Miller and didn't observe any obvious injuries, according the medical examiner.

Attorney Rocky Anderson, who is representing Miller's mother, Cynthia Farnham-Stella, said in February that the death is suspicious for a number of reasons.

Miller was alone in her cell, Anderson said, giving her no reason to be on the top bunk where she reportedly fell. The force of the injury nearly split Miller's spleen, which would have caused her tremendous and obvious pain, eliminating the possibility Miller was hurt before arriving at the jail, Anderson said.

"Heather entered the jail in good health, she apparently did not have contact with other inmates, and didn't have a cellmate, and paramedics were called when, according to our information, Heather was unconscious and having seizures," Anderson said in February. "The blunt force trauma clearly did not happen before she was arrested. It had to have occurred at the jail."

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McKenzie Romero

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