Madison County officials are investigating the unobserved Friday afternoon death of an inmate.

The cause of death of 38-year-old Jordan Payne of Winterset will be established by autopsy; in the meantime officials say Payne’s death was an “unobserved death”.

Payne met Friday morning, according to standard operating procedure with an advocate at the jail earlier in the day, and following that meeting, returned to his cell. During a routine safety check of inmates a short time later, Payne was discovered unresponsive, and transported to the Winterset hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

Payne was serving time on a contempt of court charge. He apparently got into a verbal altercation with a judge during an April 12 court appearance concerning a no-contact order.

The judge sentenced Payne to 30 days in jail on contempt charges. 

Payne apologized to the judge and the court in a letter from his jail cell; the judge agreed to shorten his contempt stay.

Authorities say Payne was scheduled to be released on Monday.

The death is being investigated by the Iowa DCI, the State Jail Inspector’s Office, and the State Medical Examiner’s Office. 

No foul play is suspected. An autopsy is being conducted to determine cause of death.

Reporter at the Winterset Madisonian. He has also been the managing editor at the Madisonian.