Janitor, 72, gets trapped in inmate holding cell without food for 3 days while cleaning courthouse

ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. — A janitor accidentally got locked inside an inmate holding cell for three days without food while cleaning at the Orange County Courthouse during her cleaning duties, according to the sheriff’s office.


Deputies on Monday saw a cleaning cart outside a secure doorway on the 23rd floor and saw a 72-year-old woman inside the inmate holding cell down the hallway in a secure area, according to the incident report. She told deputies she had been there since Friday evening.

The woman said she entered the holding cell to clean it when the door shut behind her. She was unable to open it.

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She was unable to contact anyone due to her cellphone being left on the janitorial cart she left outside the secured doorway, the incident report states.

She tried to knock and the door and pull it open, but was unsuccessful. She remained in the holding cell until Monday when a deputy saw her cleaning cart.

The janitor told deputies she was able to drink water from a small faucet from the top of the toilet, but had no food since 9:30 p.m. Friday, when the door locked on her.

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The woman told deputy she was diabetic and had not taken any insulin since Friday. She was provided with food in order to help adjust her blood sugar levels after being freed from the cell.

Orange County officials said Tuesday that the lock on the holding cell was found to be defective and has since been replaced.

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Adam Poulisse, WFTV.com

Adam Poulisse joined WFTV in November 2019.