MONDAYE 5/22/2023 4:32 p.m.

(EL PASO COUNTY, Colo.) — EPSO has identified the man who died in custody at the hospital.

He has been identified as 76-year-old Rick Mendez.

MONDAY 5/22/2023 11:06 a.m.

The El Paso County Sheriff’s Office (EPSO) has ordered the autopsy of a 76-year-old man who died at a hospital while in custody on felony charges.

According to EPSO, at around 12:05 a.m. on Saturday, May 20 a man died at the hospital where he had been admitted on April 30, 2023, for treatment for a preexisting medical condition.

EPSO said that based on the “serious health condition and age of the defendant,” there was consideration given to petition the courts for release from custody.

The Sheriff’s Office said, “However, based on the seriousness of his charges and the defendant’s continued aggressive behaviors towards deputies and nursing staff at the hospital, the Sheriff’s Office maintained custody and security to ensure the safety of all.”

According to EPSO, the man was previously booked into the El Paso County Jail on Oct. 16, 2022, on the following charges:

  • Second Degree Assault, Cause Injury with Deadly Weapon, FTA-Felony 4, Violent Crimes and weapons used, 2 Counts
  • Crimes Against at Risk Person, FTA-Felony 6
  • Duty To Register, FTA-Felony 6
  • Third Degree Assault, Reckless Causes Injury, FTA-Misdemeanor 1, 2 counts
  • Violation of A Restraining Order, FTA-Misdemeanor 2, 4 counts
  • False Imprisonment, FTA-Misdemeanor 2
  • Menacing, FTA-Misdemeanor 3
  • Harassment, Strike, shove, kick, FTA-Misdemeanor 3, 2 counts
  • Careless Driving Without Injury, FTA-Traffic M
  • Driving Under Restraint, FTA-Traffic 1
  • And multiple other traffic violations, FTA

Sheriff Roybal has requested an autopsy by the El Paso County Coroner’s Office. The Sheriff’s Office believes the death was the result of natural causes. EPSO will release the autopsy results once received and the man’s identity once next of kin notifications are complete.