A woman found dead in a cell at the Richmond County jail Sunday died of an infection caused by a hole in her digestive system.
In a statement released Tuesday afternoon, Richmond County Coroner Mark Bowen reported Debra Leverette, 50, died of peritonitis.
The gastrointestinal perforation that led to the infection was not caused by any trauma, Bowen wrote in a email.
According to websites of the Mayo Clinic and the University of Maryland Medical Center, peritonitis is a serious, life-threatening condition that requires immediate medical attention, usually surgery.
Symptoms include severe pain, chills and fever, nausea and vomiting, according to the medical centers. Because a patient will have abdominal pain for a few days before the perforation occurs, the University of Maryland Medical Center recommends anyone with abdominal pain to contact his physician immediately.
A complete coroner’s report could be available by the end of the week, Bowen said. The Georgia Bureau of Investigation was called in by the sheriff’s office to investigate.
Leverette was found dead at the Phinizy Road facility around 7:30 p.m. Sunday, according to earlier reports in The Augusta Chronicle. She had been in jail since March 30 after her arrest on a charge of entering an automobile with the intent to commit a theft.
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