Bloomington woman arrested in connection with death of Orange County Jail inmate

Sarah J. Shipman booking photo

Staff report written from press releases

Paoli, Indiana – January 27, 2024

An arrest warrant was issued Monday, January 23rd, 2024, for 31-year-old Sarah J. Shipman of Bloomington, IN, following an investigation by the Indiana State Police after an inmate died at the Orange County Jail.

Shipman faces a range of charges, including Dealing in a Controlled Substance Resulting in Death, classified as a Level 1 Felony. Additionally, she is charged with Dealing a Schedule 1 substance within a Penal or Juvenile Facility, categorized as a Level 5 Felony. The charges extend to Trafficking with an Inmate, also classified as a Level 5 Felony. Furthermore, Shipman is accused of Operating While Intoxicated (OWI) with a prior offense, constituting a Level 6 Felony.

The investigation is rooted in an incident on Saturday, December 30th, 2023, when Indiana State Police Sgt. Detective Brock Werne responded to the Orange County Jail. At approximately 5:00 a.m., jail officers from the Orange County Sheriff’s Office discovered 54-year-old Jeanne Ross of Mooresville, IN, unresponsive in her cell while delivering breakfast. Immediate medical assistance was initiated, and emergency personnel were summoned. Unfortunately, their efforts proved futile, and Ms. Ross was pronounced deceased at the scene by the Orange County Coroner’s Office.

The Orange County Sheriff’s Office promptly requested the Indiana State Police to investigate the circumstances surrounding Ross’s death. Investigation findings revealed that Ms. Ross had been transported from Hendricks County Jail to the Orange County Jail on December 26, 2023, on a warrant for failure to appear.

An autopsy was conducted on Sunday morning by the Orange County Coroner’s Office, with the results, including toxicology reports, currently pending. The investigation remains ongoing.

Shipman voluntarily surrendered at the Orange County Jail on Wednesday, January 25th, 2024, where she is presently held on a $500,000.00 bond, according to the Indiana State Police.

All defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.

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