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East County News Service

Photo by Rebecca Jefferis Williamson

October 26, 2022 (Santee) – Today, the District Attorney announced that Dr. Friederike Von Lintig will be charged in the death of Elisa Serna, an inmate who died on November 11, 2019 at  the Las Colinas Women’s Detention Facility in Santee.  

Dr. Von Lintig is the second person charged over Serna’s death. She was the physician on duty at the time Serna died and was a contracted staff member of Coastal Hospitalist Medical Associates (CHMA), later employed by Correctional Healthcare Partners, Inc.

Last November, the D.A. charged Sheriff’s nurse Danalee Pascua with involuntary manslaughter in connection with Serna’s death.

The actions followed an investigation by the San Diego County Sheriff’s department, which immediately suspended Pascua pending the outcome of criminal proceedings.

Today, the Sheriff’s department issued this statement in response to news that Von Lintig will also face charges.

“We support the District Attorney’s decision to file criminal charges in this case, which centers around the actions and decisions of individuals who were entrusted with the care of Ms. Serna. Those actions do not reflect the values or obligation of the Sheriff's Department to keep people safe when they are in our custody.”

The Sheriff’s department has been under a spotlight after a San Diego Union-Tribune report revealed that San Diego has the highest number of inmate deaths of any major county in California.

 A state auditor report recommended key changes, many of which have been rolled out by the Sheriff’s department, though the death toll continues to climb to the highest level this year thus far of any on record.

The Sheriff’s media release today continues, “Our Sheriff’s healthcare workers, contractors, deputies and other staff members perform at exceptional levels every day. They go above and beyond their duties, regardless of the challenges they face. The Sheriff's Department is committed to providing compassionate medical services for the safety, health and well-being of everyone entrusted in our care. We have and will continue to follow strict protocols for investigating and responding to allegations of misconduct.”

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