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Assault Suspect, 62, Dies in UCI Hospital Jail Ward

March 11, 1985

A 62-year-old man died early Sunday morning in the UCI Medical Center jail ward, where he had been in custody since his arrest in Orange three weeks ago on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon, a Sheriff's Department spokesman said.

The coroner's office listed the cause of death of William Frank Rice of Orange as "apparent natural causes" pending the outcome of toxicological tests, Sheriff's Sgt. Richard Moscowitz said.

Orange Police Lt. Dean Richards said Rice was arrested Feb. 17 at his home after a family quarrel. Rice had been arguing with his wife when her son by a previous marriage, Ty Hyatt, 20, intervened and slapped Rice, Richards said.

Rice then picked up a knife with a six-inch blade and allegedly threatened to kill Hyatt, Richards said, but Hyatt disarmed him, and police were called. Rice was docile when police arrested him, Richards said.

Rice was taken to UCI Medical Center because he had complained of pain in his right leg, but he apparently suffered no injury during the family fight or the arrest, Richards said.

Moscowitz said Rice underwent surgery at the medical center, developed complications and lapsed into a coma, from which he never emerged. He died at 2:23 a.m. Sunday.

Neither sheriff's nor Orange police spokesmen knew the nature of the surgery.

Moscowitz said Rice's case is being reviewed by the district attorney's office, which, he said, is routine for an in-custody death, as well as by coroner and sheriff's investigators.

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