“I want answers” : sister of mental patient who drowned seeks justice

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WARNING: An image in this story may be disturbing to some people.

The family of one of the women who drowned in an Horry County Sheriff’s van seeks answers and is speaking out about her death. 
 
There are still many unanswered questions as the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division completes their investigation. 
 
Jewels Green texted back and forth with News13’s Maggie Lorenz while traveling to Pennsylvania to bury her sister, Nicolette Green in their hometown. 

Jewels said she’s angry, confused, and wants justice for her sister.

“I want answers. I want admissions of guilt and culpability. I want reform for mental health illness policies and procedures. I don’t want this to go away,” Jewels wrote in an emotional Facebook post remembering the death of Nicolette. 

The public post includes a photo of a body in a casket with Jewels saying the funeral home did their best to make Nicolette look like her self after having been left in flood waters for 24 hours. 

Jewels is calling for the Marion County Solicitor’s Office to formally charge the deputies with a crime. 

Horry County Solicitor Jimmy Richardson said it’s the solicitor’s job to sit down with SLED and determine whether or not any charges should be made. 

“If they turn up criminal activity, they do it all the time SLED does, they bring that to us and we will act appropriately,” Richardson said. “Or in this case, Ed Clements will act appropriately.”

If they turn up something other than criminal activity, Richardson said there won’t be charges. 
 
He wants people to wait until the investigation is over before drawing quick conclusions. 
 
“Everybody knows that the public wants answers,” Richardson said. “And Sheriff Thompson said the same thing, he wants answers. Before you can get the answers, all you can do is speculate. And I don’t know if you’re the same way as I am, but any time I’ve speculated in the past I may end up having to eat crow.”

The deaths of Nicolette Green and Wendy Newton have stirred concerns of how mental health patients are handled in South Carolina. 

Jewels Green wrote on her Facebook post about her sister: “Millions of people suffer from depression – criminalizing them when they reach out for help is inexcusable. My sister was not violent. She had not committed any crime.”

According to HCSO Spokesperson, Brooke Holden, “pursuant to South Carolina State Law (Section 44-17-410) and (Section 44-17-440), a State or local law enforcement officer is authorized and required to take into custody and transport [the person] to the hospital designated by the certification.”

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