Report: Inmate spent final hours pleading for help

December 13, 2013 • State News

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — Transcripts of interviews with inmates indicate a woman who died in the Santa Fe jail last year had spent [auth] her final hours crying and pleading for medical help as she suffered from withdrawal from heroin.

And while an autopsy lists the cause of death for Eusemia Rodriguez as chronic alcoholism, medical experts hired by the 32-year-old mother’s estate say she died from treatable symptoms, The Santa Fe New Mexican reported (

The county earlier this year settled with her estate for $500,000, but few details about her case had been released. A spokesman for the county confirmed the deputy warden, Mark Caldwell, had spoken with Rodriguez on the day she died but denied she had asked Caldwell for help.

Yesenia Loya, one of three women in the jail at the time, said Rodriguez was throwing up and she kept telling jail officials she was a heroin addict and needed attention.

Rodriguez was booked on charges of battery on a household member around 2 a.m. July 3, 2012. She and her boyfriend had been fighting about her addiction, according to news reports from the time.

“She was throwing up and she kept telling them, ‘I’m really sick,'” Loya said, according to transcripts of her interview. “She’s like, ‘I’m shaking off the heroin.’

“I could hear her crying, like all night long, crying that she was sick,” Loya said, “and she kept saying like, ‘Help me.’ ”

Loya said guards told her they were “working on it.”

Mellisa Gallegos, who was being held in a different cell in the same pod as Rodriguez, said she and other inmates tried to help Rodriguez get medical attention.

The inmates said Loya continued to be sick during her court appearance that day.

Around 10 p.m. that evening, officers found Rodriguez unresponsive, and she couldn’t be resuscitated.

The county attorney says privacy laws prevent him from discussing whether Rodriguez was treated for heroin withdrawal.

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