An 18-year-old girl with a heroin addiction died in Lebanon County Correctional Facility in Lebanon, Pennsylvania, last month, days after her mother says she asked for medical attention and was denied it by prison staff who believed she was faking a medical problem. Police are currently investigating the death, as protocol for all prison death cases.
Victoria 'Tori' Herr and her 21-year-old boyfriend, Jesse Roldan, were reportedly arrested in their apartment on March 27 after Roldan failed to show up for sentencing on drug charges and retail theft stemming from an incident last November, Lebanon Daily News reports. When police searched the apartment, a drug-sniffing dog discovered 69 packets of heroin in the residence, the Lebanon Daily News reports. Herr reportedly said the drugs were hers and was charged with possession with intent to deliver. At the time of her arrest, Herr was addicted to heroin and was forced to go through withdrawals alone in a jail cell.
Four days later, on March 31, Herr lost consciousness at the prison and was taken to Good Samaritan Hospital. She was then airlifted to Lehigh Valley Hospital, where was remained in a coma before dying on Sunday, April 5.
The teen's family says she wasn't given a medical examination when she arrived at the prison and that she was abused and neglected "in horrific ways" before she was finally taken to a hospital, according to The Free Thought Project.
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Herr's mother, Stephanie Moyer, recalled a phone call she had with her daughter while she was dealing with withdrawals.
"I was like, 'Tori, what happened?' And she said, 'I don't know, mom, but I'm seeing people die. I'm going to die,'" Moyer explained. "And I said, 'Tori, you are not going to die, honey, you are just going through withdrawal.'
"And she said, 'I'm so thirsty. I'm so thirsty. I just want lemonade. They won't give me lemonade. Can you put money on my account?' She said, 'I've got to go,'" Moyer continued. "And I said, 'Wait! How do I put money on your account?' And she said, 'I don't know, maybe go into the jail. I've got to go.'
"And that was the end of our conversation," Moyer stated. "It was the last time I talked to her."
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Moyer reportedly discovered her daughter was addicted to heroin after reading her journal. Prior to that, she described Herr as a creative, fun-loving teen who enjoyed photography and writing. She died from supposed complications related to heroin withdrawals eight days after she was admitted to the prison.
The police department released a statement in which they said correctional officers were not to blame for Herr's death.
"At approximately 10:15 p.m. due to a medical emergency involving an inmate," the statement read. "Upon initial questioning of staff, all operational protocols appeared to be followed. The PA State Police were notified of this incident and responded as per procedure."
An autopsy was performed, but the cause or manner of the death has not yet been determined, the Reading Eagle reports. The coroner is waiting on toxicology results.
The investigation is ongoing.
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