Karla Gamez-Talavera
Karla Gamez-Talavera Courtesy of Family

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Karla Gamez-Talavera was booked into King County Adult Detention Center on March 5.

She died six days later at Harborview Medical Center, after becoming unresponsive at the jail. Gamez-Talavera was 24.

Her cause of death is unknown, according to the King County Medical Examiner’s Office. Medical officials are waiting for a toxicology report before making a final determination.

The King County Department of Adult and Juvenile Detention is conducting an investigation alongside the county public health department. The Seattle Police Department is also investigating Gamez-Talavera’s death.

Seattle police arrested Gamez-Talavera on March 5 for failing to appear in court on two drug charges, according to King County booking records.

Reached over the phone, Eleazar Juarez-Diaz, who is Gamez-Talavera’s brother, said his sister recently relapsed while participating in the county’s drug court program. Before her last stint in jail, court records show that Gamez-Talavera cycled in and out of the facility six times since July 2017.

Juarez-Diaz said he received the call late evening on Saturday, March 10, from a social worker at the hospital saying Gamez-Talavera had been intubated. He drove to the hospital from Leavenworth, where doctors told him they put his sister "on every kind of heart support she could be on.”

"I have questions about what happened,” said Juarez-Diaz. "I just don’t get how she could still be so sick a week after she had gone into the jail. I just don’t understand.”

Gamez-Talavera went to Garfield High School. She also worked at a Qdoba and a Gordon Biersch Brewery Restaurant, and spent time volunteering at Lambert House, according to Juarez-Diaz. She wanted to be a substance abuse counselor.

"She was the kind of person who would excel at her jobs,” Juarez-Diaz said. "Always quickly promoted to supervisory roles or whatever the company offered that way."