Family questions woman’s death in Kansas jail

(KSN File Photo)

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — The family of a Kansas City woman who died in a western Kansas county jail question whether the staff reacted quickly enough when she began foaming at the mouth and collapsed.

Brenda Sewell, 58, died Wednesday after becoming ill at the Sherman County jail in Goodland, Kan., two days after she and her sister were arrested for speeding and a Kansas Highway Patrol trooper found a small amount of marijuana in their car, The Kansas City Star reported.

Sherman County and Goodland officials said they would not comment on the death until the investigation is complete.

Sewell carried medication for several medical problems, including hepatitis C, thyroid problems and fibromyalgia, said her younger brother, Rick Ray, of Kansas City. Ray said his sister bought a small amount of marijuana in Colorado to ease the pain and nausea from her illnesses.

“She had some health problems but nothing that was life-threatening; it was under control,” he said.

The sister who was with her, Joy Biggs, told her family that jailers would not give Sewell her medications because she did not carry the pills in the original bottles and jailers couldn’t identify the medicines, Ray said.

Sewell hadn’t been feeling well since Monday and was sent to a hospital on Tuesday. She was returned to the jail Wednesday, where she began foaming at the mouth. Biggs told her family she began cardio-pulmonary resuscitation and the family doesn’t believe jailers responded as promptly as they could, Ray said.

Sewell was rushed to the hospital in Goodland, where she was pronounced dead.

The investigation by Goodland police likely won’t be finished for several days, Goodland Police Chief Cliff Couch said.

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