CROWN POINT — A Gary man who collapsed in a shower area after six days in the Lake County Jail last year died from severe inflammation of internal tissues due to a ruptured ulcer, an official said. 

Kurtis Peoples' manner of death was natural, said Porter County Coroner Cyndi Dykes, who handled the case at the request of the Lake County coroner's office.

The cause of death was acute peritonitis due to a ruptured acute duodenal ulcer and left ventricular hypertrophy, Dykes said.

Peoples was booked into the jail Dec. 5 and died Dec. 11.

It was unclear if Peoples sought medical attention during his six days in the jail.

Some symptoms of peritonitis include abdominal pain or tenderness, bloating of the abdomen, fever, nausea and vomiting, loss of appetite, diarrhea and thirst, according to the Mayo Clinic's website.

John Kopak, attorney for the Lake County Sheriff's Department, said the federal Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act prevents the department from commenting on any inmate's medical care or treatment.

Lake County Sheriff's Department detectives and jail administrators investigated People's death, Lake County Sheriff Oscar Martinez said in December.

Kopak said Tuesday an internal investigation uncovered no evidence of any criminal activity related to the cause of Peoples' death.

"The key word is acute," Kopak said.

Kopak was not aware of any disciplinary actions taken as a result of an internal investigation. However, he wouldn't be able to comment on any disciplinary actions because they are a personnel matter, he said.

Peoples fought with Gary police during the arrest. The injuries Peoples suffered during that fight likely were not the cause of death, former Porter County Coroner Chuck Harris said in December.


Public Safety Reporter

Sarah covers crime, federal courts and breaking news for The Times. She joined the paper in 2004 after graduating from Purdue University Calumet.