Family of Florida Woman Found Dead in Prison Files Lawsuit Against the State

Latandra Ellington was found dead in a confinement cell at Lowell Correctional Institution, 24 hours after she filed a complaint alleging that a corrections officer had threatened to kill her.

The Miami Herald reports that her family has now filed a lawsuit saying that Ellington had been beaten, subjected to inhumane treatment, and did not receive proper medical care. The 36-year-old mother of four had only seven months left on her 22-year prison term.
10 days before her death, Ellington wrote to her family about threats she had received from officer Patrick Quercioli who repeatedly threatened to beat her with a radio. Upon reciving the letter, her aunt, Algerine Jennings, demanded that Ellington be protected. She was placed in protective confinement on September 30, but was found unresponsive the next day.

The medical examiner ruled that Ellington died as result of heart disease and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement found no evidence of foul play.
Her family paid for a second private autopsy, which showed that she had lethal levels of the blood pressure medicine amlodopine in her system. The family also says Ellington had excessive bruising, a cut on her face, and other signs of abuse. According to the Miami Herald, "the suit claims that the prison’s culture of physical, sexual and mental abuse had created an atmosphere of deliberate indifference among corrections officers and other staff."

No one has been charged in the death of Ellington.

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