A Missouri mother is suing weeks after her incarcerated son died of an undiagnosed—but treatable—form of acute leukemia, accusing jail staffers of forgoing treatment and taunting the man as his condition rapidly deteriorated.
Tashonda Troupe has reportedly filed a lawsuit against St. Louis County Acting Director of the Justice Center, Julia Childery, following the death of her son, Lamar Catchings, 20, who died March 1 while housed at the St. Louis County Jail. Troupe said her son experienced a lack of appetite and vomiting before his death, according to KMOV.
“The guards told him to quit acting like a baby, so that left my son to go in his cell and just endure this pain on his own,” she said.
Citing newly-released documents, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported that Catchings most likely died of acute promyelocytic leukemia (APL). APL is considered the most curable form of adult leukemia, with survival rates estimated at 90 percent with treatment, according to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.
At the time of his death, Catchings was serving an 11-month sentence for assault and armed criminal action. Footage obtained by the news outlet shows the 20-year-old slumped over in a wheelchair for most of a two-hour hearing on February 22. Reports indicated that he was able to walk into court for a January 25 appearance.
Moreover, a source recently told the Post-Dispatch that an internal jail investigation is probing into why a nurse didn’t send Catchings to the infirmary despite him not eating and being observed staggering confusedly.
Troupe’s attorney, Mark Pedroli, claimed he requested documents from the jail regarding jail budgeting and inmate population. He told KMOV that Childery rejected the April 4 request, meaning they have no insight into whether Catchings received any medical care before his death.
They are reportedly suing the jail director, alleging that her refusal to provide these answers violated state open public records law. KMOV reported that a lawsuit could lead to a judge forcing county officials to produce the requested documents.
This week, Troupe asked the St. Louis City Council to push for more transparency at the jail where, including her son, three inmates have died this year. The Post-Dispatch noted that the St. Louis jail staff are also accused of medical negligence in the deaths of Larry Reavis and John M. Shy, 29.
Reavis was found unresponsive in his cell on January 18, an hour after a guard reportedly dismissed another inmate’s claim that Reavis had suffered a seizure. Staffers were accused of disabling inmates’ call buttons in the jail’s infirmary after Shy reportedly screamed and cried for help before his death on February 23.
The outlet reported that a nurse who found Shy in a blood-stained cell allegedly instructed him to clean up and take a shower instead of seeking help.
Catchings’ mother went on to urge city officials for insight into whether the supervising guard followed protocol when her son died last month.
“To suffer alone and in pain, he didn’t have anybody,” Troupe said, according to KMWU. “The autopsy still didn’t give me all the answers, because I still don’t know exactly when my son died.”
[Featured image: Lamar Catchings/KMOV]