Irregular Heartbeat Caused Yelm Man’s Death in Nisqually Jail

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The cause of death for Andrew Westling, the 19-year-old Yelm man who died in the Nisqually Jail in April, was attributed to cardiac arrhythmia, aka an irregular heartbeat.

Thurston County Coroner Gary Warnock said the death was classified as natural, and his death could have happened at anytime. Drugs and alcohol use were not listed as contributing factors. There were no signs of trauma or injury, Warnock said.

This condition can be corrected with medicine or surgery; however, some people have it without knowing, which will eventually lead to death, he said.

Westling was found dead while in custody in his cell on the morning of April 12 after being arrested at 10:41 p.m. April 10 at the Yelm Arco AM/PM.

Yelm Police Chief Todd Stancil said his officers arrested Westling at the convenience store on suspicion of fourth-degree assault and being a minor in possession. Yelm officers brought him to the jail.

The AM/PM manager said she was not at the store during the arrest, but she had viewed video tape of the incident. The manager said Westling spat in the face of a customer and was belligerent to others inside the store. She believes he was intoxicated due to his behavior as he came in the door and the interactions with the customers, as detailed on the video.

“Andrew was a genuinely good person, never meant anyone any harm,” said Ashley Irvine, Westling’s girlfriend. “He was always so positive, no matter how bad his situation was at the time. He was so loving, such a great soul. He will be missed by many and I can’t wait to see him again someday.”

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