Death of inmate at Shelby County Jail under review

Published 2:16 pm Sunday, May 22, 2022

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COLUMBIANA – Authorities are looking into the May 21 death of an inmate at the Shelby County Jail.

The inmate, Kathy Burcham, 52, of Sterrett, was being held in the Shelby County Jail after she was arrested Tuesday, May 17 on two outstanding warrants, both for willful abuse of a child.

On Saturday, May 21 at about 9:45 p.m., jail deputies were conducting regular cell checks in the medical unit in adherence to jail policy when they discovered Burcham in obvious medical distress, according to a Shelby County Sheriff’s Office press release.

“Jail deputies and medical staff immediately began providing emergency medical care,” the release read. “Southeast Shelby Rescue responded to assist, but resuscitation efforts were unsuccessful. The exact cause of death is unknown at this time; however, preliminary belief is that Ms. Burcham experienced a medical emergency.”

Shelby County Sheriff John Samaniego has requested the St. Clair County Sheriff’s Office to conduct an independent review into the incident.

An internal audit into the incident will also be conducted.

Due to the ongoing status of the review, no further information has been released.