84-year-old inmate dies after fall at Polk County Jail

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FROSTPROOF, Fla. (WFLA) – An 84-year-old Polk County inmate is dead after deputies say he fell and hit his head in the jail.

Arthur Francis Gilmore of Lakeland died early Sunday morning at a hospital in Sebring. Deputies say the 84-year-old fell near the top of a set of stairs at the jail in Frostproof Saturday night just before 10 o’clock.

Gilmore hit his head during the fall and was immediately tended to, the sheriff’s office says. Detention deputies say Gilmore’s only visible injury was a “minor laceration to the right side of his forehead.”

Gilmore was taken to the jail’s medical facility for treatment and was placed on “head watch” to monitor his condition. While he was being treated, deputies say Gilmore was responsive and talking.

He told deputies he fell and tried unsuccessfully to catch the safety railing. Another inmate told investigators it appeared Gilmore missed a step. That witness also said there were no other inmates around Gilmore when he fell.

A sheriff’s office spokesperson says Gilmore became unresponsive just before midnight on Saturday and was taken to AdventHealth in Sebring. Gilmore was pronounced dead at 12:49 a.m. on Sunday.

Detectives are now investigating his death. Sheriff’s office policy calls for four separate, independent investigations.

Gilmore had been in the Polk County Jail since June 5 of this year. Deputies say he had contact with a child, which violated his probation stemming from a 2009 case in Polk County. The sheriff’s office says Gilmore pleaded guilty in 2011 to five counts of attempted sexual battery on a child under 12. He was sentenced to 10 years in Florida State Prison and was released in February 2018.

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