Morgan County sued over death of jail inmate

Dave Stafford
March 23, 2016
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The estate of a woman who was found dead in a Morgan County Jail cell after jail staff allegedly knew she required medical attention has filed a federal wrongful death suit against the sheriff, jail staff and contracted health care providers.

Tammy Perez, 34, was found dead in the jail in Martinsville on Oct. 1, 2015. She had been convicted of Level 6 felony possession of a narcotic and sentenced to spend 40 days in jail with an option for treatment if she could secure placement, according to the suit and trial court records. According to the suit filed Tuesday, authorities knew when she was booked into jail on Sept. 28, 2015, that she had heroin in her system and would go through withdrawal while behind bars.

But Perez also had a lifelong adrenal gland disorder that required daily medication that a relative had provided to jail staff with instructions. The complaint says Perez could not keep food or the medicine in her system, though. As she became sicker, her cellmates allegedly implored jail staff to take her to a hospital, which she had also pleaded for. A correctional officer at one point told Perez to “stop being a drama queen,” the complaint alleges.

As her condition worsened, the complaint says Perez was moved to an individual holding cell on Sept. 30. In the early morning hours of Oct. 1, a Martinsville police officer who knew Perez brought an arrestee to the jail, and when he saw her name on a whiteboard, he decided to check on her. He found her dead, the complaint says, noting that responding medical personnel found rigor mortis had set in, indicating Perez had been dead for an extended time.

A Morgan County jail commander contacted Wednesday said he had not seen the complaint and could not comment.

The complaint alleges deliberate indifference to Perez’s medical needs in violation of the Eighth Amendment, and negligence and wrongful death under state law.



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  1. From his recent appearance on WRTV to this story here, Frank is everywhere. Couldn't happen to a nicer guy, although he should stop using Eric Schnauffer for his 7th Circuit briefs. They're not THAT hard.

  2. They learn our language prior to coming here. My grandparents who came over on the boat, had to learn English and become familiarize with Americas customs and culture. They are in our land now, speak ENGLISH!!

  3. @ Rebecca D Fell, I am very sorry for your loss. I think it gives the family solace and a bit of closure to go to a road side memorial. Those that oppose them probably did not experience the loss of a child or a loved one.

  4. If it were your child that died maybe you'd be more understanding. Most of us don't have graves to visit. My son was killed on a state road and I will be putting up a memorial where he died. It gives us a sense of peace to be at the location he took his last breath. Some people should be more understanding of that.

  5. Can we please take notice of the connection between the declining state of families across the United States and the RISE OF CPS INVOLVEMENT??? They call themselves "advocates" for "children's rights", however, statistics show those children whom are taken from, even NEGLIGENT homes are LESS likely to become successful, independent adults!!! Not to mention the undeniable lack of respect and lack of responsibility of the children being raised today vs the way we were raised 20 years ago, when families still existed. I was born in 1981 and I didn't even ever hear the term "CPS", in fact, I didn't even know they existed until about ten years ago... Now our children have disagreements between friends and they actually THREATEN EACH OTHER WITH, "I'll call CPS" or "I'll have [my parent] (usually singular) call CPS"!!!! And the truth is, no parent is perfect and we all have flaws and make mistakes, but it is RIGHTFULLY OURS - BY THE CONSTITUTION OF THIS GREAT NATION - to be imperfect. Let's take a good look at what kind of parenting those that are stealing our children are doing, what kind of adults are they producing? WHAT ACTUALLY HAPPENS TO THE CHILDREN THAT HAVE BEEN RIPPED FROM THEIR FAMILY AND THAT CHILD'S SUCCESS - or otherwise - AS AN ADULT.....