Society

Woman Jailed For Not Paying Child Support Dies

| by John Freund

A Michigan woman has died in jail during a 30-day sentence for not paying child support.  

Click On Detroit reports that 37-year-old Jennifer Meyers was sent to jail for 30 days for refusing to pay child support.  Just 12 days later, she was discovered dead in her cell. 

Meyers died from a virus that spread through her body over 12 days.  Even though she complained of pain, neither the Sheriff's Department guards nor the privately contracted medical staff allowed her medical assistance.

"Obviously, when somebody comes in to the jail, the punishment is being there," said Robert Ihrie, the Meyers family's attorney. "The punishment isn't to die."

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Guards found Meyers lying in her cell, reportedly freezing to the touch.  

"We've got to check her pulse, and she went like this, she is ice cold," a witness said. “She wasn't responding to me, and the minute I touched her she felt like she was in a meat freezer," the witness said.

Ihrie claims in a federal lawsuit that guards and medical staff failed to see that Meyers’ condition was deteriorating over time.  

"Nobody ever came in to check on her and see if she was OK," a witness said. "She wasn't eating. She wasn't drinking."

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Meyers was so sick that she couldn’t get off her cot during meal time in her final 3 days.  "She was literally laying in bed, cuddled up like this, not even able to move," a witness said.

In jail, requests for medical attention are called kites.  "She was kiting all the time and the nurses wouldn't do anything about it," a witness said.

"She gave them the kite," another witness said. "She said she could barely get out of bed. She was trying to hand them a piece of paper. She said, 'You're going to have to give it to midnight staff or morning staff. I can't do [anything] about it.'"

Meyers’ family is currently searching for answers as to why she was never taken to the hospital.  

Meyers’ family is also suing the county for negligence.  County attorney John Schapka declined to comment, but said the county “would vigorously defend itself and its personnel.”

Meyers is not the first Macomb County Jail inmate to die after allegedly being ignored by staff.  Detroit News reports that 32-year-old Daniel Stojcevski died in his cell from withdrawals from drug use while in custody for only 16 days.  A lawsuit from Stojcevski’s family is pending.  

Sources: Click On Detroit, Detroit News / Photo credit: Jeff Stearns/Flickr

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