Recently released surveillance video revealed a mother of five children suffering from starvation and disturbing psychological behavior before dying in a Washington state jail. The victim’s family has filed a lawsuit accusing correctional officers of abuse and neglect.
On December 30, 2017, Reynaldo Gil called 911 to report that his wife, Damaris Rodriguez, was suffering a mental health episode and required medical assistance. Before the ambulance arrived, police officers showed up at the scene and arrested Rodriguez for domestic violence against her husband.
Although Gil informed the deputies that his wife was “responding to voices in her head, becoming abnormally agitated, experiencing extreme anxiety and paranoia” and needed “to be seen by a mental health facility,” they placed her under arrest and incarcerated her at the South Correctional Entity Jail (SCORE). According to the recent lawsuit, Rodriguez suffered from bipolar disorder and psychosis.
Recorded on surveillance video, Rodriguez took off her clothes, began crawling naked on the floor, and appeared to vomit on the floor of her jail cell. Instead of eating her food, Rodriguez started to flush her meals down the toilet.
On January 2, the jail staff ran a toxicology test, but the results revealed no drugs in her system. Between January 2nd and 3rd, the guards allegedly refused to administer meals to Rodriguez because she was no longer responding to commands from her cell.
“When someone is so mentally ill that they can’t communicate, then that’s a sign of a really big problem,” the Rodriguez’s lawyer Nate Bingham told CBS News.
The family’s lawsuit states that Rodriguez eventually died from “an easily diagnosable and treatable metabolic condition called ketoacidosis,” and they said she had previously been diagnosed and treated for bipolar disorder. A routine urine test that should have been administrated would have indicated the threat to her health.
“Corrections officers and medical staff were aware of the dangers of water intoxication. In fact, they even discussed and made notes about their concern that Damaris would experience water intoxication. However, they did not help her,” the lawsuit alleges.
In a statement to CBS News, the jail facility extended its “condolences to all involved…” and said “since this incident, our employees have received comprehensive training in crisis intervention.”
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