An Albany woman accused of multiple sex crimes has reportedly committed suicide at the Linn County Jail.
Tina Ketcham was 40.
She had twice attempted suicide in mid-February after the Albany Police Department began its investigation into sex abuse and rape allegations made by an underage male, according to court paperwork.
Ketcham was not on any type of suicide watch, but she was in protective custody and housed in a cell by herself, said Sheriff Jim Yon, in a brief interview on Wednesday afternoon.
"If we have a person who is giving us those signs" they would be placed on suicide watch, Yon said. He added that the layout of the Linn County Jail makes such constant care difficult.
Ketcham’s defense attorney Stephen Doyle said that his client “absolutely” should have been on suicide watch.
A news release from the Linn County Sheriff’s Office states that Ketcham was found hanging in her cell at 5:10 a.m. on Wednesday by corrections deputies performing hourly security checks.
Ketcham was unresponsive, and deputies immediately entered the cell, called for medics and began live-saving measures, according to the news release.
Albany Fire Department paramedics arrived at 5:18 a.m. and a short time later pronounced Ketcham deceased.
The Benton County Sheriff’s Office, in coordination with the Linn County medical examiner, is conducting an investigation into Ketcham’s death.
Ketcham was arraigned on an indictment on Monday morning for six counts of first-degree rape, two counts of first-degree sex abuse, one count of first-degree sodomy and six other sex crimes.
She pleaded not guilty to the charges during Monday’s hearing and was scheduled for a two-day jury trial starting April 8.
The crimes allegedly occurred between 2015 and 2020, and Ketcham knew the victim. Ketcham had no previous criminal history.
Last Friday, Linn County Circuit Court Judge Brendan Kane kept Ketcham’s bail at $350,000, denying a request for reduced security.
Doyle, her attorney, had argued for bail of $50,000.
“My argument to get her out of there was based on three factors. One, she was not a flight risk. She wasn’t going anywhere. … The second argument was that she wasn’t a safety risk to anybody in the Albany community. She was going to be living up in the Portland-metro area,” Doyle said, in an interview on Wednesday.
The third argument was that for Ketcham’s mental health and her own safety, she needed to continue with therapy and counseling sessions, Doyle added.
On Feb. 13, after authorities were alerted to the sex crime allegations, Ketcham was admitted to Samaritan Albany General Hospital after a suicide attempt, according to a court filing from Doyle. She was admitted to St. Vincent Hospital in Portland on Feb. 15 after another suicide attempt. She was later transferred to Cedar Hills Hospital and put in a locked unit for patients with mental health issues, Doyle wrote.
Her stay in the locked-down unit lasted for about a week before she was released. “They thought she was doing OK as long as she continued therapy,” Doyle said on Wednesday.
Ketcham was lodged in the Linn County Jail on Feb. 25.
Kyle Odegard can be contacted at 541-812-6077 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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