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Parker County Sheriff: Man who died had liver, heart ailments

Liver and heart ailments appear to have caused the death of an Azle man who was found unconscious late Sunday inside his cell at Parker County's jail, Sheriff Larry Fowler said.

Michael Wells was identified by the Tarrant County medical examiner's office.

Wells had been in the jail since Sept. 24 on one count of aggravated sexual assault of child and indecency with a child. He had been arrested by Parker County sheriff's deputies and he was being held on bonds totaling $50,000, officials said.

Jailers noticed Wells slumped over on his bunk at about 10 p.m., officials said. They tried to revive him with a defibrillator until paramedics arrived, but he could not be saved, officials said.

A preliminary autopsy conducted by the medical examiner's office stated that Wells "died of natural causes stemming from his medical conditions," according to a news release from Fowler's office.

Time of death was listed as 10:27 p.m., the medical examiner's office reported.

When asked to describe those medical conditions, the sheriff responded that they were heart and liver diseases.

"A formal ruling is expected pending the toxicology results," the news release stated.

Wells was taken Friday to Weatherford Regional Medical Center, Fowler said.

Wells had also been held at the jail last June on a charge of assault-bodily injury to a family member, Fowler said. The man also was held in June 1998 for assault bodily injury, the sheriff said.

The Parker County Justice Center has been operated for the past year under a contract by New Jersey-based Community Education Centers, Inc.

In April, another inmate accused of indecency with a child was found dead in his cell at the jail, according to reports. The 55-year-old inmate had hung himself with an electrical cord from a radio, the reports stated.