Pelican Bay Inmate Found Dead; Cellmate Being Investigated

Press release from the California Department of Corrections. The information has not been proven in a court of law and any individuals described should be presumed innocent until proven guilty:

California Department of Corrections and RehabilitationPelican Bay State Prison (PBSP) officials are investigating the death of an inmate as a homicide.

This morning at 7:13 a.m., inmate Neil Z. Ramirez, 29, was found unresponsive in his cell. Responding staff immediately initiated cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR). An ambulance was summoned. Ambulance staff assisted with CPR; however, Ramirez was pronounced dead at 7:47 a.m.

Ramirez was received into California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) custody from Los Angeles County on March 28, 2011, with an eight-year sentence for kidnapping.

Ramirez’s cellmate, age 35, has been identified as the suspect. He was received into CDCR custody from Los Angeles County on April 17, 2000, with a sentence of 50 years to life for first-degree murder. His name is being withheld pending investigation.

Investigators from the Del Norte County District Attorney’s Office are assisting. The Office of the Inspector General was notified.

PBSP is located in Del Norte County. The prison is comprised of two maximum-security facilities, two security housing unit facilities, a minimum-support facility and a short-term restricted housing unit. The prison provides treatment for mentally ill inmates and provides work, academic, career technical education, self-help and other rehabilitative programs. PBSP also has a firehouse with eight fulltime inmate firefighters. PBSP opened in 1989, currently houses approximately 2,100 inmates and employs approximately 1,300 people.

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