An airman who was being held at the confinement facility at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland in Texas died on Dec. 5 after being found unresponsive in his cell.

There has never before been a death at the Lackland confinement facility, a base spokesman said. As a result, Brig. Gen. Laura Lenderman, commander of the 502nd Air Base Wing and JBSA, ordered a temporary operational stand-down of the confinement facility.

Airman Basic Robert Dean Brice had been recently convicted at a court-martial of two counts of sexual assault of a child, four counts of sexual abuse of a child, possession of child pornography, attempted sexual assault of a child and attempted sexual abuse of a child. He was sentenced on Nov. 25 to eight years confinement, a dishonorable discharge, reduction in rank from airman 1st class to E-1 and forfeiture of all pay and allowances.

After jailers found Brice unresponsive, he was taken to the San Antonio Military Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead, Lackland spokesman Lemitchel King said in an email Tuesday. Brice has been held at the Lackland jail since Oct. 8, and was awaiting reassignment to a permanent jail, King said.

Brice’s death is being investigated by the Office of Special Investigations, King said. He would not say whether Brice is suspected of killing himself. King said it is not clear whether Brice died at the jail, the hospital, or en route.

King said Brice failed to respond to a routine check. Guards then found him unresponsive, began lifesaving procedures and called emergency medical services before he was transported to the hospital.

The two other confinees who were at the Lackland jail have been moved to other facilities while it is closed, King said. The facility can hold up to 31 prisoners.

King said that confinees are not allowed to freely move throughout the facility, although they can be provided some liberties based on their security classification. Brice had been classified as maximum security.

Brice was arrested by Texas’ San Angelo Police Department and Tom Green County Sheriff’s Office in September 2017, according to the county’s jail records.

Brice had been assigned to Goodfellow Air Force Base in Texas.

Stephen Losey is the air warfare reporter for Defense News. He previously covered leadership and personnel issues at Air Force Times, and the Pentagon, special operations and air warfare at He has traveled to the Middle East to cover U.S. Air Force operations.

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