Coroner IDs suspect who died in police custody

Josten Bowen (Source: Cincinnati Police)
Josten Bowen (Source: Cincinnati Police)

UNIVERSITY HEIGHTS, OH (FOX19) - The Hamilton County Coroner's Office has identified the suspect who died in custody Wednesday after police say he tried to swallow drugs.

Josten Bowen, 31, suffered a medical emergency when a SWAT team searched a residence in the 2800 block of McMicken Street about 4:45 p.m., coroner's officials said.

"It's just speculation right now, but we had an individual who had a controlled substance in his mouth. That substance broke open in the baggie and he suffered a medical emergency," Assistant Police Chief Paul Neudigate told reporters at the scene Wednesday night.

Bowen ignored officer's orders to remove the baggie from his mouth. Officers sparked a taser but did not deploy it, police said.

Bowen eventually spit out two open bags of the unknown substance. He suffered a medical emergency immediately after, police said.

The weight of the baggie that Bowen spit out was 14.65 grams.

While the coroner arrived on the scene, so did the pastor from a nearby church to pray with the family who is now without their loved one.

"My church is there and they're part of this community which means they're a part of my flock. As a pastor, you know, it's not so much who is a member of your church as what you can do for the community," Pastor Kenneth Simpson said.

Police followed protocol and no force was used, according to Neudigate.

Officers obtained a search warrant for the first-floor apartment as part of an investigation into heroin sales. The man who died was the "primary suspect" in the investigation, Neudigate said.

Three other people were taken into custody.

Officials said they are investigating whether those individuals are connected to the drug investigation.

Police said numerous items of contraband were recovered from the residence as part of the subsequent search warrant, to include:  257.81 grams of suspected heroin, 102.77 grams of suspected crack, $3,516 U.S. currency, and a loaded Glock 9mm handgun with a 30-round extended magazine.

"I'm here to help make sure that things have de-escalated, talk to the family, see if we can try to be of comfort to the family members," Simpson said.

Police are conducting an administrative investigation into the incident.

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