Federal lawsuit filed over death of inmate at Madison County Jail

Feb. 8—ANDERSON — The family of a woman who died in the Madison County jail in 2022 has filed a federal lawsuit seeking damages.

The complaint was filed by Indianapolis attorney James Porter on behalf of Deborah Harting as the personal representative of 43-year-old Stacey Cox.

Defendants in the lawsuit are the Madison County Sheriff’s Department, Sheriff John Beeman, several correctional officers and medical provider Quality Correctional Care.

Jeff Graham, Madison County’s attorney, said Wednesday that the county’s insurance company will hire an attorney to represent the county.

According to the court document, Cox was stopped by officers on September 21, 2022, around 11:45 p.m., because the bike she was riding did not have a light.

Cox was booked into jail on Sept. 22 on charges of possessing a syringe and resisting law enforcement, and was found to have heroin in her possession at the time of her arrest, the document states.

Cox allegedly told correctional officers she was a drug addict and suffered from a blood disease. The document states that no medical examination was performed and that Cox was placed in a detoxification cell with other inmates.

According to the lawsuit, Cox was suffering from withdrawal, had vomited several times and sought medical attention.

After being incarcerated for nearly 21 hours, Cox was seen by a nurse and given Tylenol, Zofran and a mat to sleep on the floor.

She allegedly asked the nurse to come back at 5:55 a.m. on Sept. 23, but the nurse did not return, according to the lawsuit.

Other inmates alerted prison staff at 6:40 a.m. that Cox had stopped moving. She was pronounced dead at 9:06 a.m.

“Defendants’ actions and inaction were deliberately indifferent to Stacey Cox’s reasonable medical needs,” the lawsuit states. “Defendants’ actions and inaction constitute negligence under Indiana law.”

Indiana State Police investigated Cox’s death at the request of former Sheriff Scott Mellinger.

Follow Ken de la Bastide on Twitter @KendelaBastide

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