PORTLAND – The State Medical Examiner was to conduct an autopsy on the body of a Cumberland County Jail inmate who died Wednesday morning while under medical observation.

Karyn Victoria Kundishora-Nowlin, 30, of Portland, had been under observation in the jail’s medical unit for seizures when a nurse checking her vital signs as part of routine medical rounds at 5:17 a.m. found she had very low blood pressure, according to the jail’s head of operations, Capt. Steve Butts.

Medical staff performed CPR and summoned an ambulance, he said. Rescue workers took over her care and brought Kundishora-Nowlin to nearby Maine Medical Center. The jail was notified of her death at 6:16 a.m.

Kundishora-Nowlin’s medical observation status meant that a corrections officer checked on her every 15 minutes, Butts said, but did not check her vital signs, which is done by the medical staff.

The cause of death has not been determined, Butts said. Staff with the Medical Examiner’s Office said the autopsy would be performed quickly, Butts said, but it was unclear whether it had been completed by the end of the day Wednesday.

Kundishora-Nowlin had a history of drug use and told jail staff that she had used intravenous heroin and suboxone before arriving at jail on July 26 after being charged with violating probation. She had been in the jail’s general population unit for women until Tuesday night when her medical status warranted movement to the medical unit, Butts said.

Detectives with the Cumberland County Sheriff’s Office and Portland police are investigating the death.

David Hench can be contacted at 791-6327 or at:

[email protected]

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