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Female inmate dies at the Forsyth County Jail after reportedly ingesting ‘illegal narcotic’
Jail
The Forsyth County Jail in downtown Cumming.

A female inmate who died in late November at the Forsyth County Jail has been identified.

In a Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office news release on Dec. 9, officials said Melissa Ponce, 28, of Tucker, was found unresponsive in her cell at about 6:30 a.m. on Nov. 20 after she reportedly “ingested an illegal narcotic prior to being incarcerated at the Forsyth County Jail,” according to an initial investigation.

The release Thursday said Ponce was arrested on suspicion of DUI at about 3:40 a.m., Nov. 20, about three hours before she was found unresponsive.

“At approximately 6 a.m., Ms. Ponce was observed by deputies, was served breakfast and showed no signs of requiring medical attention,” the release said.


Per the release, three nurses in the jail attempted life-saving measures, including administering Narcan, which reveres the effects of opioid overdose, using an automated external defibrillator and calling emergency medical technicians.

Ponce was pronounced dead shortly after EMTs arrived and her death will be investigated by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation.

“Ms. Ponce was transported to the GBI Medical Examiner’s Office for an autopsy,” the release said. “Per the Sheriff’s Office Standard Procedures, the GBI was requested to conduct an investigation. The GBI will contact the sheriff when that investigation is complete, and the cause of death is determined. The Sheriff’s Office of Professional Standards is doing a parallel investigation into the incident.”

Ponce was the second inmate to die in the jail in a four-day span.

Rhett Anderson, 63, of Cumming, was pronounced dead early on Wednesday, Nov. 17 after “jail deputies responded to the medical unit for an unresponsive inmate” at about 2:50 a.m. that morning,” FCSO officials said at the time.

Anderson’s body was transported to the GBI medical examiner’s office for an autopsy, and the GBI was requested by the sheriff’s office to conduct the investigation, which is still pending.