TCSO Investigates Apparent Self-Inflicted Death Of Inmate

Thursday, October 6th 2016, 1:05 pm
By: Tess Maune

A Chouteau woman recently arrested on a complaint of child neglect died Wednesday while jailed at David L. Moss Criminal Justice Center. Caitlin Lynn Lewis apparently died from self-inflicted means in her cell, officials said October 5, 2016. 

According to an incident report submitted Wednesday to the Jail Inspection Division of the Oklahoma State Department of Health, a detention officer and a nurse went to Lewis' cell at 11:31 a.m. to give her medication and found Lewis hanging from a sprinkler pipe by a sheet in her cell. 

The jailer then called a medical emergency and called for a cutdown tool, the report states. 

Two more jailers arrived on scene and one of them performed CPR on Lewis until nurses arrived on the scene, and at 11:47 a.m., a jail doctor pronounced her dead, according to the report. 

She was arrested in September, accused of child neglect by Munchausen By Proxy, which means she was trying to make her daughter sick with medication to gain attention for herself.

9/29/2016 Related Story: Chouteau Woman Arrested On Munchausen By Proxy Child Neglect Charge

Investigators said she took her daughter to at least a dozen clinics and hospitals, saying the girl had seizures.

They said in June, nurses at a Tulsa hospital caught Lewis giving drugs to her daughter.

Police said Lewis' daughter is now with her father and not sick or on medications and is doing very well.

Lewis was in a segregated unit when she died, meaning she was in a jail cell of her own and locked up in that cell 23 hours a day.

Deputy Justin Green said, “We hate to see anyone take their life or lose their life, it's a horrible thing, period.”

Green said every inmate sees a nurse before being assigned to a cell. If they need medical or mental health attention, inmates go to the medical unit.

“They will spend additional time being evaluated by the doctors and nurses here as well as the psychiatric doctors and mental health professionals,” Green said.

Our partners at The Frontier say before being moved to segregation, Lewis was in the jail's medical unit, where some inmates are suicidal.

Because of medical privacy laws, the jail can't say why she was in the medical unit. The jail also can't say why she was moved to segregation but said inmates in those units are not considered suicidal.

Green said, “We try to put things in place to prevent that, like evaluations and security checks and being present, but unfortunately an officer can't be everywhere all the time. So, unfortunately, there are opportunities when things like that do happen."

Green says detention officers check every cell regularly to make sure inmates are behaving and alert.

Inmates in segregation and regular units are allowed two uniforms, a sheet, blanket and towel in their cell, as well as toiletry items and books.