Second death in Grand Traverse jail in past year

Mar 1, 2018

Grand Traverse County jail.
Credit Aaron Selbig

A 36-year-old female prisoner, Marilyn Palmer, was found dead in a Grand Traverse County jail cell Wednesday night. This is the second death at the jail in the past year.

Grand Traverse County Sheriff Tom Bensley would not elaborate on what happened to her. 

"Well, at this time, we aren’t making any comments until we are able to review the city police report and the jail investigative report regarding that incident."

However, in a Facebook post, the Sheriff’s office said Palmer was found hanging, unresponsive in the shower of a jail cell. 

 

Credit Grand Traverse Sheriff's Office Facebook

Court records show Palmer pleaded guilty in January to identity theft. She was sentenced to three months in jail.

If Palmer's death is ruled a suicide, it would be the second in the past year. Alan Halloway died in his cell last July. It took three hours for corrections officers to find Halloway hanged in the jail. They were supposed to check his cell every hour. A report from the Michigan Sheriff's Association said corrections officers did not follow proper policies and procedures in that case.

Between 2011 and late 2017 there were 40 suicide attempts in the jail. There have been four deaths by suicide in the jail since 2004.

It is not clear if any changes were made to the jail or jail procedures after Halloway's death. Sheriff Bensley declined to comment.

Bensley says the The Traverse City Police Department is investigating the death.