No charges in death at county corrections facility

Elkhart Truth file photo

ELKHART — No charges will be filed following the death of Laminika Dockery, 36, of Elkhart, who suffered a medical emergency at the Elkhart County Community Corrections Work Release facility in Goshen on July 31 and died shortly after being transported to Goshen Hospital. 

According to Elkhart County Prosecuting Attorney Vicki Becker, staff members at the facility were aware of Dockery complaining of stomach pain shortly after entering the facility on July 25. While she was at the facility she made multiple requests for medical assistance, but since she had tested positive for drugs, staff believed she was suffering from symptoms of drug abuse withdrawal and did not seek medical attention. 

A document from the prosecuting attorney's office said Dockery was observed to be slow to respond and weak on the morning of her death. An ambulance was called, but she died despite emergency interventions at the hospital.

An autopsy showed Dockery died from an untreated bacterial infection. 

Since the circumstances leading to her death took place while she was in the custody of Elkhart County Community Corrections, a department of county government, the Elkhart County Homicide Unit took responsibility for the investigation, the release from the prosecuting attorney said.

The release said Becker reviewed evidence in the case to see if formal charges under Indiana criminal law might be appropriate. Specifically, according to Becker, reckless homicide was considered.

That charge requires evidence that a specific individual or group of individuals acted with "plain, conscious and unjustifiable disregard of harm that might result [from their actions], and the disregard involves a substantial deviation from acceptable standards of conduct," the release said.

Finding insufficient evidence that any staff member believed that harm or death would be the result of Dockery's complaints, no charges can be filed, according to Becker.

(6) comments

Betty Zeta

This is BS! If one is in custody, be it a home, foster home, jail, or prison, the caretaker, in this case, the ECCF, then they ARE responsible to some degree of the inmates well being. AND, I would love to know who the heck the doctor was, IF ANY, that made the medical ASSUMPTION the inmate was suffering from drug withdrawal.

Joden

I have a question. If the prisoner tested positive for drugs why was she in the work release facility. From what I understand if you test hot for drugs you are pulled from that program immediately and sent back to serve your time in jail. Makes me wonder when she tested positive for drugs. Also, drug and alcohol withdrawal CAN cause a medical emergency and life threatening conditions all of which I’m sure “staff” at this facility are untrained to detect. Also it doesn’t appear that this woman had any drug convictions but mostly traffic related offenses.

LivingTheDream

If the only facts known are those written here, this is a very disturbing case. What we don't know is if she complained daily, for the six days she was in custody. We don't know if she had a history outside of this incarceration, of unfounded medical complaints. I too would like to see an impartial party delve deeper into this case. On the surface, there are red flags all over the place. Non-medical correctional staff should not be tasked with nor assume the responsibility of determining the validity of medical complaints. I hope that at the very least, procedural overhauls will be done as a result of this.

DeeDee

Of course no charges will be filed.. Vickie Becker should have the book thrown at her. Elkhart always has a way of making an excuse to the mess ups there are with those working in the system. Vickie should go down just like Hill and several others

Leeet

Who is ultimately responsible for the Jail and the well being of everyone in that building?

Joe King

"While she was at the facility she made multiple requests for medical assistance, but since she had tested positive for drugs, staff believed she was suffering from symptoms of drug abuse withdrawal and did not seek medical attention. " That right there should be an alarm bell....I hope the Elkhart Truth and her family pursue this more...She may have just been a prisoner to some, but she was a human being who asked for helped. The staff, not medically trained, assumed it was drugs or issues with drugs.... They were wrong and someone is dead because they didn't want to be bothered or have to deal with this? I hope they atleast loose their jobs.... This is just wrong in so many ways...please Elkhart Truth, do more follow ups on this.

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