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Autopsy Says Heart Disease, Cocaine Likely Caused City of Tulsa Jail Death

Matt Trotter

A medical examiner's report has classified the Jan. 6 death of a woman in Tulsa's municipal jail as accidental.

An autopsy found heart disease and cocaine toxicity likely caused Lawanda Ward's death, with pneumonia and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease also contributing, the Tulsa World reported.

The Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation was asked to investigate the death.

"Despite the challenging circumstances that lead to an arrest and booking, we strive to ensure that our fellow Tulsans are treated with the utmost respect and professionalism in our municipal lockup facility," read a statement from the City of Tulsa. "We appreciate the OSBI’s assistance in confirming our compliance with that goal and all applicable legal requirements."

An attorney for Ward's family said there is "some likelihood" of a false positive for cocaine in her system.

Ward, a 46-year-old paraplegic, was arrested on larceny warrants Jan. 2. She was found unresponsive in her cell Jan. 6.

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