Mother-of-five died in jail after starving for 4 days, disturbing video shows her crawling naked, vomiting
Damaris Rodriguez was arrested for suffering a mental health episode
DES MOINES, WASHINGTON: The family of a Washington woman is suing a correctional facility where she died after disturbing footage showed her stripping naked, crawling on the floor, vomiting, and hallucinating in her cell after she was locked inside for suffering a mental health episode.
Rey, the husband of 43-year-old mother-of-five Damaris Rodriguez had called 911 on December 30, 2017, and told the dispatcher she was suffering a "psychiatric problem," according to CBS News.
"She's having a psychiatric problem and isn't behaving normally," he had said. "She's being violent and has already hit me twice and I need a medic."
However, instead of sending medical assistance, police were sent to their residence and Damaris Rodriguez was arrested for fourth-degree assault. She was subsequently booked into the South Correctional Entity (SCORE) in Des Moines, where she died four days later having not eaten anything for 106 hours.
In the disturbing footage obtained by the Daily Mail, Rodriguez, who appears to be handcuffed, is led by three officers through the reception area and into a jail cell, where she is left face down on the floor. After they leave, she continues to lie there without moving for several minutes.
Around 20 minutes later, she is moved to another cell, where she starts walking in circles. Her condition worsens from there, and footage taken the next day shows her naked, crawling on the floor, and vomiting.
In one segment, she is crawling slowly around her cell, naked, and then pushes herself beneath a bench in the cell. Then, she lies in a fetal position face down on the floor under the bench and starts flailing her arms around her.
On January 3, hours before she died, she is seen drinking water from the tap, gagging and shivering uncontrollably, and seemingly knocking on the cell door for help.
Nate Bingham, an attorney for the family, described her treatment as a "window to hell" and told the Daily Mail that starvation was ultimately the cause of her death as she had not eaten for the four days she was incarcerated.
A wrongful death lawsuit filed against the facility states that jail staffers had written in their medical notes that she was at risk of suffering ketoacidosis but still did nothing to prevent it and even moved her to a cell with no water.
Ketoacidosis is a build-up of acids in the blood which can happen when blood sugar levels are too high for too long and the lawsuit argues it's "an easily diagnosable and treatable metabolic condition".
Bingham claimed Rodriguez had developed the condition, which can make the person "delusional" and experience "psychoses", due to starvation.
The lawyer said the mother was wrongly arrested while suffering a "mental health episode" and had "never been arrested before." He also revealed the exact time of death was not known because officials took some time before noticing she was unresponsive.
"They did not understand what was going on or why she was being arrested or why she was not getting medical help as that was what they asked for and what she needed," he said.
Jose Marte, Rodriguez's oldest son, similarly told CBS she had a known history of mental health disorders and had been diagnosed with and treated for bipolar disorder in the past.
Two other inmates died at the center after Rodriguez, and causes of both were listed as "unknown." They are being investigated as well.