Photo: Las Colinas Detention Facility
“This afternoon, 11/4/21, the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department was notified by the District Attorney’s Office it is charging Nurse Danalee Pascua with involuntary manslaughter following the death of 24-year-old Elisa Serna. Nurse Pascua was hired on May 12, 2017 as a Detentions Registered Nurse and was assigned to the Las Colinas Detention and Reentry Facility (LCRDF).
Elisa Serna died while in custody at LCRDF in Santee on November 12, 2019. On November 13, 2019, Nurse Pascua did not attend work, as it was her regularly scheduled day off. When Nurse Pascua returned to work on November 14, 2019, she was immediately placed on paid administrative assignment. She has been removed from having any patient contact since that time.
Pursuant to Department practice and procedure, the department’s homicide unit responded and opened an investigation concerning the circumstances surrounding Ms. Serna’s death. After completing its investigation, which included examining the scene, interviewing witnesses, and reviewing evidence, the Sheriff’s Department referred the case to the Special Operations Division of the D.A.’s Office.
Today, Nurse Pascua was suspended without pay pending the outcome of a formal disciplinary decision. This was based on sustained findings of misconduct following a Sheriff’s Department Internal Affairs investigation.
We support the District Attorney’s decision to file charges in this case and hope this development will bring some comfort to Ms. Serna’s family.
The San Diego Sheriff’s Department is committed to providing compassionate medical services for the safety, health, and well-being of everyone entrusted in our care. We have and will continue to follow strict protocols for investigating and responding to allegations of misconduct.
We offer our deepest sympathies to the family, friends and loved ones of Ms. Serna.”