Update: Inmate died of arterial aortic aneurysm, sheriff’s office says

A file image of the Santa Cruz County Jail
(Kevin Painchaud / Lookout Santa Cruz)

Inmate Mark Van Beckner, 57, died of an arterial aortic aneurysm at the Santa Cruz County Jail, according to a Wednesday update from the sheriff’s office. He was booked into the jail only two days prior to his Nov. 1 death.

An inmate who died at the Santa Cruz County Main Jail on Nov. 1 suffered from internal bleeding caused by an arterial aortic aneurysm, the Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s Office said Wednesday.

A media release from Lt. Patrick Dimick said the inmate, 57-year-old Mark Van Beckner, was initially booked into the jail Oct. 30 for felony possession of stolen property and misdemeanor possession of drug paraphernalia.

An inmate at the Santa Cruz County Jail died at 8:16 on Tuesday morning. Sheriff’s office detectives are investigating...

The sheriff’s office said correctional staff noticed that Van Beckner appeared to be ill around 5 a.m. on Nov 1, when he was moved to an isolation cell for further observation.

He was found unresponsive in his cell more than two hours later, at 7:45 a.m., when correctional officers called emergency medical services. Van Beckner was declared dead at 8:16 a.m.

Lookout asked the sheriff’s office why it took more than two hours for the jail’s staff to summon medical services after Van Beckner became ill, but a spokesperson did not respond by publication time.

A grand jury report from June 2021 showed that Santa Cruz County saw 6.4 inmate deaths per 100,000 bookings from 2005 to 2019 — the seventh-lowest rate among California counties.

The main jail currently holds a little more than 300 inmates and has a medical clinic with a doctor, registered nurses, and psychiatric professionals on site.

Latest Stories


Be the first to know all the big, breaking news in Santa Cruz. Sign up to get Lookout alerts sent straight to your phone here or below.