A woman struggling with fentanyl addiction died in the Harford County Detention Center after being declared a “danger to self + community” and held without bail following a home-invasion burglary charge this month.

Brittani Ugrotzi died May 7, weeks shy of her 33rd birthday and after four days in the jail. It was the first known death since a Baltimore Banner investigation in February found an abnormally high suicide rate at the Harford County jail. Experts attributed that to officials “creating the conditions” for self-harm with long stints of confinement and bed bunks in isolation cells, among other factors.

Ugrotzi’s boyfriend, relaying information he said the woman’s mother learned from detectives, said she was on “suicide watch” when she died. The Harford County Sheriff’s Office did not comment on whether she was on suicide watch, but court paperwork describes her as a danger to herself and identifies a mental health condition.

The sheriff’s office has not made any public statements about the death or shared details with The Banner, but Cristie Hopkins, the agency’s spokesperson, said there is “no information or evidence to suggest that suicide or foul play contributed.”

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Hopkins said Ugrotzi’s death is “currently under review by law enforcement, corrections and the contracted medical services provider,” Wellpath, and that the sheriff’s office would provide details after the medical examiner completes an autopsy.

When asked why the agency hasn’t issued a press release despite the death occurring weeks ago, Hopkins said those releases come “at a time that is appropriate for that individual case.”

“The facts and circumstances are different with each case, and that dictates the timing of a release,” Hopkins said.

But previous deaths were made public by the sheriff within days, including deaths by hanging but also deaths caused by medical issues. For example, within hours after Tina Marie Billings died Sept. 23, 2022, a release was issued stating that her death was “of natural causes related to illness.”

Kyle Baker, Ugrotzi’s boyfriend, criticized the sheriff’s office for not sharing information with him despite his name being listed as her partner in court records, and questioned whether it could have done more to prevent her death.

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“Lots of people go to jail detoxing, but you don’t go to jail to die within three days,” Baker said. “That’s not how it works.”

Ugrotzi’s detention came after an incident in the early morning of May 3. A Kensington resident heard noise and called out for a family member while frozen in fear. Ugrotzi, standing 5 feet, 2 inches and weighing 110 pounds, appeared at the doorway and waved to her, according to court records.

The resident came into the kitchen to find Ugrotzi going through her purse, then asked her what she wanted, court records said. Ugrotzi replied that she was looking for a lighter, and the resident gave her a bottle of water and told her that a 7-11 was down the street. That’s where police found her.

A Harford County Sheriff’s deputy reviewed video footage and concluded that Ugrotzi entered the home around 1:15 a.m. and left an hour and a half later. She was not accused of stealing anything.

Urgrotzi was charged with two burglary counts and one count of possession of a controlled substance because she had five capsules of fentanyl on her, according to court records.

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Paperwork in Brittani Ugrotzi's criminal case showed notes scribbled in the margins by a Harford County court administrator labeling her as bipolar, detoxing and noting "fentanyl/heroin abuse." (Court records)

The 32-year-old was new to the area and had been staying at a Days Inn in Alexandria for the last few months, according to court records and Baker. On paperwork documenting a May 6 bail review hearing, where Ugrotzi was held without bail, Harford County District Judge Tracey J. Delp appeared to make handwritten notes in the margins, writing that Ugrotzi was “detoxing” and suffered from “fentanyl/heroin abuse.”

Baker said he posted to social media about the death after trying unsuccessfully for weeks to get information from the sheriff’s office. After The Banner obtained court records shedding light on why she was arrested, Baker expressed shock and suspected Ugrotzi would have had to be “high out of her mind” to enter someone else’s house.

Baker said Ugrotzi’s mother, who could not be reached for comment, was told by detectives her daughter was on suicide watch when she died but that the death did not appear to have been caused by hanging.

“How did she die?” Baker asked. “You’re supposed to watch people.”