“When I found out, I knew I had to get up here and see what’s going on,” Chester Lancaster told News 4.
Lancaster spoke with KFOR outside the Oklahoma County Jail on Wednesday after seeing News 4’s story that aired on Tuesday about his granddaughter.
“I was distraught. I didn’t know what took place. So I’m here to find out what took place,” Lancaster said.
A former jail employee contacted KFOR, claiming Lancaster’s granddaughter had a miscarriage inside her cell back in July and has been dealing with serious mental health issues ever since.
“She wrapped this baby up in a towel,” the former employee said. “They came in and cleaned up everything and threw the baby away and she witnessed it.”
However, officials at the jail told News 4 an internal investigation found there was no evidence that the inmate had a miscarriage.
In a statement, Greg Williams, Jail Administrator, said:
“While privacy and ethical concerns regarding detainee medical care prevent us from going into detail, we can state unequivocally the allegations inferred in the story are not supported by any evidence. Our investigation, which included interviews with multiple other employees who were involved in the situation and our medical provider, does not support the allegation. In short, this is a nothing more than a rumor.
We would like to note that all women who are booked into our facility are given pregnancy tests, and medical care is provided accordingly.
As always, we encourage all employees to come to their supervisors with any concerns they have about detainee treatment or working conditions. Additionally, we encourage all employees facing any type of mental health or trauma on the job to seek help by speaking with their supervisor or calling the our employee assistance program.
The entire Jail Trust remains committed to providing the safest facility possible. As such we will continue to investigate any allegations of mistreatment. In this case, it is clear the rumors were simply untrue.”
KFOR also asked the jail for the report from the internal investigation. They told us to contact the jail’s medical provider, Turn Key Health Clinics.
Officials with Turn Key told KFOR News 4, “Unfortunately, absent a release of medical information, we would be unable to provide any records for your review. Upon learning, for the first time today ,of your allegations against the jail, the jail asked us to conduct a review of the incident in question, each allegation was shown to be false.”
But Lancaster is worried for his granddaughter.
“I need to at least get a visual of her so I know that she’s alright,” he said.
He tried to speak with her after talking with KFOR outside the jail.
“They set us up for a video chat whenever she decides to call,” he said.
He said his granddaughter is dealing with some mental health issues because of the alleged incident and she wasn’t ready to talk with him.
He plans to go back later this week and try again. He is also hoping she will sign a form that will allow him to have access to her medical records.
“She never showed me any mental issues,” said Lancaster. “I’ve heard things have gone on at the county jail, but not to this extent.”
The group People’s Council for Justice Reform released a statement about the alleged incident on Wednesday, saying,
“The People’s Council for Justice Reform is deeply disturbed by news reports of an avoidable tragedy as told by a former employee of the Oklahoma County Detention Center. The graphic description of a woman who miscarried inside the jail and whose baby was “tossed into the trash” is yet another instance of neglect, abuse, and subsequent cover-up in this unconstitutional, inhumane, unsanitary, unsafe, immoral, and unethical facility.
In the essence of transparency and accountability we demand the immediate release of any and all records associated with the investigation into allegations of the pregnant detainee having a miscarriage and watching her deceased baby tossed into the trash.”
Officials with the jail told KFOR on Tuesday it is against policy to release medical records to the public.