Wife of Oklahoma County Jail inmate who died in hospital says his health was neglected by jail staff


OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – The wife of an Oklahoma County Detention Center inmate who died back in September is speaking out, claiming he was neglected in the weeks before he died, which jail officials dispute.

“He’ll never get to see his kids do anything,” Wendi Jaramillo told KFOR, fighting back tears.

Jaramillo said she is still haunted by the moment she had to say goodbye to her husband back on September 14.

“Some days are better than others,” she said.

Her husband, Leo Destea, an inmate at the Oklahoma County Jail, died at the OU Medical Center in the COVID-19 wing, according to Jaramillo.

“He never got to see the judge. He never got to plead not guilty,” she said.

Jaramillo said she got a call from the hospital and made the decision to have him taken off the ventilator.

She told News 4 the next call she received was from his cellmate.

“He was calling to see how he was. He told me that for a month that he and his other cellmates were sitting there banging on the cage trying to get him some help and nobody would even come down there. They hadn’t fed him in like three days, four days,” Jaramillo said.

However, officials at the jail told News 4 they have no reports of any neglect, and they said Destea was transferred to the jail’s medical wing as soon as he tested positive for COVID-19.

“When I sleep, all I do is see him,” she said.

You’ll remember late last month, a judge granted Oklahoma County District Attorney David Prater’s request for a grand jury investigation into how the jail is being operated.

Prater told News 4 in a statement that the culture at the jail since the jail trust took over operations in July of 2020 has “resulted in more deaths and maltreatment of inmates than I have ever seen.”

“To know that nobody up there gave a rat’s a** about him, he was somebody out here. He was somebody to me. If that’s anything that’s, he was somebody to me,” Jaramillo said.

The state medical examiner has yet to determine the official cause of death.

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