From Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office
At 8:11 this morning Deschutes County Jail inmate Bryan Michael Penner died at St. Charles Medical Center in Bend. The cause of death was suicide by asphyxiation. Central Oregon’s Tri-County Major Incident Team, led for this investigation by the Oregon State Police, continues to investigate the circumstances of Penner’s death. The early evidence indicates this death was by suicide, but the investigation continues.
When the Tri-County Major Incident Team completes their investigation the Oregon State Police will forward their findings to Deschutes County District Attorney John Hummel who will review the facts and the law and make a public announcement as to his conclusions.
Deschutes County District Attorney John Hummel commented on the life-saving efforts at the jail:
“Without the heroic efforts of Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office Corrections Deputies, a Corrections Nurse, and Emergency Medical Technicians from the Bend Fire Department, Penner would have died last night at the jail. The focused, competent, and heroic efforts of this team of dedicated and professional public servants gave Penner a fighting chance for life.”
Corrections Captain Michael Shults said, “We are thinking of Mr. Penner’s family. Our staff are trained in the signs of suicide and suicide prevention. Penner has been in the jail since February 22nd and showed no signs of being suicidal.
After being evaluated by Sheriff’s Office mental health professionals, he was housed in a dorm setting. Penner has been in the jail on ten occasions since 2007, most recently from December 11th, 2017 through January 6th, 2018, and has never shown any signs or indications of being a suicide risk.”
Penner is the sole suspect in the disappearance of Sarah Gomez and his passing makes the search for her more challenging.
Deschutes County District Attorney John Hummel commented on the search for Sarah:
“Unfortunately, as the search for Sarah extended from hours, to days, to weeks, it became obvious we are searching for her body and she will not be found alive. With Penner’s passing our chances of quickly finding Sarah plummeted. I encourage everyone in Deschutes County to report to law enforcement any suspicious tire tracks, earthen mounds, or other potential evidence they might see on their property. Sarah’s family is counting on our community to bring her home.”