“She’s not in jail hardly more than 24 hours and hasn’t been convicted of a crime and she’s dead,” Draper said. “It’s clear that they denied her medical attention.”
A woman arrested for drug possession died of a split spleen while at the Davis County Jail.
The injury was caused from blunt force trauma she sustained while being held at the jail.
The woman Heather Ashton Miller, while in her cell she fell asleep on her bunk and fell from the bunk. After the fall officers came to initially check on her and moved her to another cell.
The fall caused such trauma that her spleen nearly split in half and she bleed to death internally.
Her mother Cynthia Farnham-Stella of Reno, Nevada, has filed a lawsuit against the Davis County Sheriff’s Office. She accused the jail for not checking in on her and providing the proper care after the fall.
“My daughter meant everything to me. She was raised in a good home,” Farnham-Stella said. “She didn’t deserve to die by falling from a bunk and no one paying attention because they assumed she was drug withdrawn.”
A criminal investigation was performed in 2017. The Utah Attorney General’s Office did not think the negligence warranted any criminal charges for the Davis County Jail Staff.
However, the Davis County Jail was criticized by the Weber County Sheriff’s Office for not treating the two jail cells like a crime scene. According to reports staff at the jail cleaned up both cells after Miller occupied them.
Also, of note jail officials do not consider Miller’s death as an “in-custody” death. As she technically was pronounced dead at the hospital.
Tad Draper who is representing Farnham-Stella believes that the jail violated Miller’s civil rights by being indifferent to her fall and not checking in on her as required.
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