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In-Custody Death at Main Jail

Santa Barbara, Calif. – On Thursday, May 25, 2023, at approximately 10:57 p.m., a Sheriff’s Main Jail custody deputy and a WellPath nurse were conducting welfare checks. While checking on inmates housed in the Inmate Reception Center (IRC), they found an inmate that did not respond to the check-in procedure. Custody deputies and medical staff entered the cell to physically check the inmate’s condition and found him unresponsive, not breathing, and with a foamy purge coming from his mouth.

Custody Deputies and medical staff began life-saving measures, including administering three rounds of Narcan, performing CPR, and placement of an automated external defibrillator (AED). County Fire and American Medical Response (AMR) were summoned and responded to the jail facility. Paramedics continued life-saving measures, but the decedent did not recover and was pronounced dead.

Detectives from the Sheriff’s Office Criminal Investigation Bureau and the Coroner’s Office are investigating the in-custody death. Sheriff’s detectives will conduct an extensive investigation into the inmate’s death, but preliminary information indicates this death is likely the result of an opioid overdose.

Additional information will be released once family members have been notified of the death and upon the conclusion of the investigation.  

Sheriff Brown would like to remind our Santa Barbara County community about the immediate dangers posed by the presence of fentanyl, highly addictive and exceedingly dangerous synthetic opioid that continues to claim countless lives nationwide, leaving communities in crisis. Recognizing the urgent need to combat this lethal epidemic head-on, the Santa Barbara Sheriff’s Office continues to join our partners in Project Opioid to increase awareness about the opioid crisis and to provide FREE Narcan – a powerful tool in the fight against opioid overdoses that has the potential to reverse the fatal effects of fentanyl and provide a glimmer of hope in the face of this devastating crisis. Free Narcan is also available from Pacific Pride Foundation, the Santa Barbara Opioid Safety Coalition, UC Santa Barbara Student Health Services Alcohol and Drug Program, and Fentanyl is Forever SB.

With this critical resource at our disposal, the Santa Barbara Sheriff’s Office and the members of Project Opioid remain committed to protecting our residents’ lives and upholding our community’s safety and well-being. Together, we can make a difference in the battle against fentanyl; one saved life at a time.


UPDATE from May 26, 2023 at 2:45 p.m.:

The Santa Barbara Sheriff’s Office is providing further details regarding the in-custody death at the Mail Jail on Thursday, May 25, 2023. The deceased inmate has been identified as 45-year-old Rio Favorite Ulvaeus from Santa Barbara.

Ulvaeus was booked into the Santa Barbara Main Jail on May 24, 2023, at 1:42 p.m., on multiple felony charges, including possession of a controlled substance for sale (H&S11378 and H&S11351), unlawful possession of ammunition (PC30305(a)), and vehicle theft (VC10851(a)).

The Sheriff’s Office will continue to provide additional updates as they become available.

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