Black Mother Found Dead in Jail Cell After Alerting Officials of Her Health Problems

Photo by ABC 7 Eyewitness News
Shortly before her death, the victim, 43-year-old Raynetta Turner, was taken to a local hospital and treated for hypertension

A New York mother of eight was found dead in a Mount Vernon jail cell on Monday afternoon, two days after she was taken into custody on charges of shoplifting. She is the fifth Black woman this month to die while in police custody.

According to Mount Vernon Mayor Earnest Davis, 43-year-old Raynetta Turner was arrested for allegedly stealing from a wholesale food store on Saturday afternoon. Shortly after her arrest, Turner alerted authorities that she was suffering from multiple medical problems, including hypertension and issues following bariatric surgery. She was taken to an area hospital and released to authorities the following day. On Monday afternoon, officers went to retrieve her for an upcoming court appearance and found her unresponsive in her cell. She was pronounced dead a short time later.

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Police officers claim that they believed that Turner was sleeping all Monday morning. The victim's husband, Herman Turner, is demanding answers.

"All I know is my wife is dead, and no one is saying anything," he said to a New York ABC affiliate. "She was a mother, she was a wife. She was mine. No longer is she mine."

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The police department, medical examiner, district attorney's office and attorney general's office are all investigating her death, and an autopsy is underway. 

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