FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – A family is seeking answers after their loved one died in police custody at Whitley County Jail.
“Tia could have been their daughter, their friend, their mother, she was a mother to four young children,” said Stephen Wagner, the family’s attorney.
Back in August, 32-year old Tia Meyers was found unresponsive in her cell at Whitley County Jail. According to the official coroner’s report, the classification of Meyers’ booking was to detox but three days after being arrested she was found dead.
The coroner’s report states that she was found unresponsive on the floor of cell R3 at 6:57 a.m. on August 26, 2020. CPR was initiated by the staff and EMS arrived at 7:02 a.m. and she was pronounced dead at 7:05 a.m. Her death was ruled an accident due to Methamphetamine.
Confused and left with questions about what happened to her daughter, Tamara Meyers reached out to attorney Stephen Wagner of Wagner Reese, LLP to start an independent investigation. Wagner has worked jailhouse death cases for the past 20-years.
After receiving the coroner’s report, he told WANE 15 that he does not believe her levels of Methamphetamine were high enough to be fatal.
“I saw some troubling signs that this may be a situation where Tia was going through withdrawal symptoms that were not treated, which resulted in complications and led to her death,” said Wagner.
Wagner told WANE 15’s Briana Brownlee that the family does not believe this is a criminal case, but a case of neglect. He explained that when an individual is arrested and taken to jail, he or she should be medically screened and asked if he or she is suffering from any substance abuse problems like drug withdrawal.
“Jails know this and for that reason, they have policies and procedures in place [well, they should], that requires those at-risk to be monitored on a regular basis,” said Wagner. “Usually every 15-minutes and we do not think this happened in Tia’s case.”
Wagner said Meyers complained to her family about not feeling well, and other individuals detained in the jail noticed that she was suffering from withdrawals. According to his investigation, she was not monitored properly.
“There is no way they would have found her unresponsive and deceased in the morning,” said Wagner. “If they were monitoring her, there is no way she would have been found deceased like that.”
WANE 15 reached out to the Whitley County Jail and Sheriff’s Department multiple times starting last week but have not received a response.
Wagner’s investigation is not complete. His office is still waiting for surveillance video and jail reports.