The Canadian County jail and Sheriff Chris West are among others named in a lawsuit involving the death of an inmate.
Lesley Hendrix, 27, of El Reno died in October 2020. She had remained behind bars since 2016.
Hendrix was charged with one count of first-degree murder following the death of a 23-month-old baby she was babysitting in 2015.
In attention to the jail and sheriff, the Canadian County Board of Commissioners are named in the lawsuit, as is Turn Key, the jail’s medical provider.
“Until we get into the case sometimes it’s hard to know who did what,” Laurie Koller, an attorney representing Hendrix’s husband said. “We know some basic facts, but we sometimes have to figure out who all the players were.”
The lawsuit alleges Hendrix sought medical help and nothing was being done to make sure that happened.
A day before her death, Hendrix’s family complained to the jail after a video conference that something wasn’t right.
“She was having difficulty standing up, her mom noticed that she seemed to be a little bit delirious,” Koller said. “There were just real concerns by the family, she needs help, somebody get her help. It didn’t appear that happened.”
According to the state medical examiner’s office, Hendrix’s cause of death was blunt force trauma to the head, likely from falling in the shower Koller believes.
Hendrix was also suffering from a flesh-eating disorder known as necrotizing fasciitis.
Koller believes it came from the jail.
“They (inmates) don’t have the ability to take themselves to urgent care or the doctor,” Koller said. “The jail and really the state is required to provide reasonable care to those people that they have locked up.”
The lawsuit is seeking punitive damages.
It may be well over a year before a judge hears the case.
“You have a lot of people that have faith and hope that their loved ones in prison and jail are going to be treated at least at a basic level. We think that didn’t happen here,” Koller said.
News 9 reached out to the Oklahoma County Sheriff’s Office and did not hear back.
The Canadian County Board of Commissioners declined to comment.