9 Investigates

Inmates' deaths prompts Lake County to demand action plan from jail's medical facility

LAKE COUNTY, Fla. — Lake County Sheriff’s Office officials are asking for an action plan from the company that provides medical care to inmates in the county jail.

The push comes after investigative reporter Karla Ray exposed records that show a nurse, employed by Armor Correctional Health Services, denied medical care to inmate James Anglin  just before he died.

Meanwhile, the Lake County Sheriff’s Office is launching a separate review of another in-jail death amid concerns about Armor Correctional’s performance.

A woman named Tiffany Allen committed suicide in the jail last month after being brought in on child neglect and drug charges.  There are now questions about whether she should have been put through new detox protocol upon being booked, instead of into the general population.

News of yet another in-custody death opened still-healing wounds for Ray Mraz.  His son, Tyler Mraz, committed suicide while being held at the jail in September 2017.

“We can't bring back Tyler, but I don't want another parent to go through what I'm going through,” Mraz said.

Records show Tyler Mraz was booked after self-reporting to his probation officer that he was using drugs.  His dad says he was going through withdrawal the night he died.  At the time, there was not an established detox protocol for drug users at the jail.

“He called me that evening and said he was doing OK, he was still sick [from withdrawal], but he was doing OK.  He said that he wasn't in a medical facility, and I was really upset about that,” Mraz said.

Months after Mraz’s death, 9 Investigates exposed the death of James Anglin.  Anglin was going through withdrawal and vomiting so severely that he went into a seizure and later died.  Records revealed a nurse for third-party company Armor Correctional Health denied him medical attention before the seizure.

Those deaths led to the Lake County Sheriff’s Office forcing Armor Correctional to implement a new detox protocol for inmates going through withdrawal in an effort to better monitor their progress.

Even though jail documents show Tiffany Allen appeared to be on drugs when she was booked in July, it’s unclear whether she was ever put through monitored detox before she killed herself.  A Sheriff’s Office spokesperson released a statement that said, “It is entirely possible that procedures were followed and Mrs. Allen was not even going through detox at the time of her death; however, in light of recent performance concerns with this company, we feel the review is warranted.”

Karla Ray

Karla Ray, WFTV.com

Karla Ray anchors Eyewitness News This Morning on Saturday and Sundays, and is an investigative reporter for the 9 Investigates unit.