Editor’s Note: This article has been update to reflect that Varvel died at a Manhattan hospital, not the Riley County Jail.
MANHATTAN (KSNT) – A Manhattan man is dead following his arrest Friday morning and confinement in the Riley County jail.
Joseph Varvel, 25, was detained by the Riley County Police Department around 1:45 a.m. on April 28 in the 300 block of North 14th St. in Manhattan. He was detained for suspicious activity.
The RCPD said Varvel was speaking with officers when he ran away and was later found to have cocaine in his possession. Officers at the scene called for medical assistance at 1:50 a.m. after Varvel complained of breathing issues while in police custody. Riley County EMS (RCEMS) arrived at 1:56 a.m. and cleared Varvel at 2:05 a.m.
Varvel was then arrested by the RCPD on possession of cocaine, possession with intent to use drug paraphernalia and interference with a law enforcement officer. He was taken to the Riley County Jail.
RCEMS was called again at 3:32 a.m. when Varvel became physically ill, according to the RCPD. His condition worsened and corrections officers attempted lifesaving measures while waiting for the RCEMS. At 3:41 a.m., RCEMS arrived and took over for the corrections officers. Varvel was taken to a local hospital at 4:03 a.m., arriving there at 4:12 a.m. He was pronounced dead at 4:47 a.m.
The Kansas Bureau of Investigation will be leading an investigation into Varvel’s death per state statute, according to the RCPD. An autopsy will be conducted on Varvel.
“Our hearts go out to Mr. Varvel’s family and friends,” said RCPD Director Brian Peete. “This agency holds itself to the highest levels of integrity and accountability and will continue to be transparent and work with the KBI through their analysis of this case. I commend our Corrections staff and EMS who did everything in their power to help Mr. Varvel during this tragic situation.”