Disturbing surveillance footage has emerged showing a mother-of-five’s final hours after she was locked up in a Washington state jail for four days when her husband called 911 for help while she suffered a mental health episode.
Damaris Rodriguez, 43, was found dead in her cell at South Correctional Entity, known as SCORE, in Des Moines on January 3, 2018, after she had been incarcerated for 106 hours – despite not being charged with any crime.
Newly surfaced video shows one of the disturbing final days of a mother of five before she died behind bars in a Washington state jail. According to a lawsuit her family filed against the facility, Damaris Rodriguez was suffering from a “mental health episode” in 2017 when they claim she was wrongly arrested.
The surveillance footage shows Rodriguez in apparent distress, naked and hallucinating.
She is seen at one point undressing, at times crawling and appearing to vomit, and banging on the door. Rodriguez was found dead in her cell after about four days of alleged neglect.
“I’d describe it as a window into hell,” the family’s attorney Nate Bingham told CBS News’ Nikki Battiste.
The ordeal began when her husband placed a 911 call in 2017 wanting to seek medical help for Rodriguez.
In the emergency call, originally placed in Spanish, he described her as “having a psychiatric problem and isn’t behaving normal,” and went on to say “she’s being violent and has already hit me twice, and I need a medic.”
Instead, police arrived and carried Rodriguez into the Washington state jail known as “SCORE.”
“My mother had never been arrested,” Jose Marte, Rodriguez’ oldest son said. He acknowledged that she had been diagnosed with a mental disorder in the past.
The Rodriguez’s lawyer Nate Bingham claimed the facility’s staff was unable to communicate with Rodriguez during her incarceration because she was so mentally ill.
“When someone is so mentally ill that they can’t communicate, then that’s a sign of a really big problem,” he said.
The family’s lawsuit states 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.
Jose Marte said his family is now filing the suit “to bring justice to what has happened,” and to shine a light on “these type of situations that are happening in these jail systems.”
“I feel like all of this could have been prevented,” he said.