25-year-old man dies in Otay Mesa jail; second inmate revived after being found unresponsive

George Bailey Detention Center exterior
George Bailey Detention Center in Otay Mesa, San Diego.
(Nelvin C. Cepeda/San Diego Union-Tribune)

One of two inmates found unresponsive during a security check Wednesday morning at the George Bailey Detention Facility in Otay Mesa has died, authorities said.

Deputies, medical staff and paramedics attempted lifesaving measures but were unable to save Omar Ornelas, 25, of San Marcos, a news release states. The other inmate was revived with the use of naloxone, a drug used to reverse the effects of opioids, and was taken to a hospital for treatment.

Ornelas was arrested Nov. 27, 2018, on suspicion of violating probation. He was also accused of vandalism and committing a crime for the benefit of a gang. He later faced additional charges of murder, discharging a firearm, being a felon in possession of a firearm and committing a crime for the benefit of a gang.


He was transferred to the Otay Mesa facility in San Diego County on Dec. 27.

All deaths in custody are investigated by the sheriff’s Homicide Unit, the release states. The county Medical Examiner’s Office has scheduled an autopsy for Thursday.

The Citizens Law Enforcement Review Board was notified of the death and responded to the George Bailey Detention Facility, authorities said in the news release.

Ornelas’ death is at least the eighth so far this year in the San Diego County jail system, which is operated by the Sheriff’s Department. Earlier this month, a report commissioned by the Citizens Law Enforcement Review Board found San Diego has the highest number of “excess deaths” among California’s 12 largest county jail systems.

A record 18 people died in San Diego County jails in 2021, according to a recent Union-Tribune story.