Metro jail inmate dies in custody - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

Metro jail inmate dies in custody

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Tanisha Jefferson died on Oct. 31. Jefferson was an inmate at the Huntsville-Madison County Jail. Tanisha Jefferson died on Oct. 31. Jefferson was an inmate at the Huntsville-Madison County Jail.
HUNTSVILLE, AL (WAFF) -

Madison County Investigators are looking into the death of an inmate at the jail.

Madison County Coroner Craig Whisenant confirmed Tanisha Jefferson died on Oct. 31.

Whisenant said Jefferson was an inmate at the Huntsville-Madison County Jail but was transported to the hospital where she passed away.

Jail officials confirmed Jefferson checked into the facility on Oct. 14, after turning herself in on a harassment charge.

According to jail administrators, Jefferson was complaining of stomach pains on Oct. 29. She was given medical treatment and medication, and again started complaining about stomach pains.

Jail officials said Jefferson was transported to the medical wing. She was found unresponsive, was taken to the hospital, and that is where she died.

Administrators said whenever an inmate dies while in custody, an investigation is launched. That investigation includes documenting everything inside a cell and quarantining the cell from other inmates.

"We have a standard protocol; medical staff respond, we contact our criminal investigators which are next door, and they respond with the crime scene team. They collect all of the evidence from the cell, the person, and the property, and then they conduct their investigation," said Jail Administrator, Deputy Chief Steve Morrison.

Jefferson's family said they are getting their information from someone inside the facility, and it's what they keep hearing that has them upset.

"They told her to go lay back down, so she went to go lay back down. When she laid down, someone looked over and saw her eyes roll to the back of her head, and that's when they came in, turned the lights off and removed Tanisha. That's all we know," said cousin Shureia Jefferson.

This is the second inmate death in the jail since August. Jail officials confirmed that in mid-August, a Huntsville teen died while serving time in jail. Administrators said the 19-year-old went to the medical wing before going to the hospital and passing away.

"Anytime there's an inmate death, people think there's something wrong inside the jail. This is no different than the Marriott. If someone checks into the Marriott and dies there, it's basically the same thing, other than we have on-staff medical here to look at our inmates," said Dep. Chief Morrison.

Whisenant confirmed a preliminary autopsy showed no signs of foul play. The coroner has yet to rule an official cause of death and has requested additional studies. Results from that could take months or possibly longer.

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