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Family of JeffCo inmate who died in custody planning to file lawsuit

Ashley Raisbeck, 27, died while in the jail's detox program on Dec. 16, 2023.
Ashley Raisbeck
Posted at 4:26 PM, May 30, 2024

JEFFERSON COUNTY, Colo. — It's been nearly six months since Ashley Jo Raisbeck, 27, died while in custody at the Jefferson County Jail.

Her mother, Jamie, is still left with more questions than answers, "I'm just left to kind of sit with my thoughts and wonder exactly what happened," she said.

Raisbeck had just begun her 28-day sentence for false reporting on Dec. 13, 2023, according to the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office.

Three days later, medical staff in the jail were conducting routine check-ups on inmates who were in the detox program when they found Raisbeck suffering from a medical emergency, the sheriff's office said.

Raisbeck was taken to the medical unit, where she later collapsed. At that time, she was breathing, according to the sheriff's office.

Medical staff administered three rounds of Narcan. At some point, she stopped breathing, so they began CPR, according to a press release from JCSO.

Paramedics arrived and took over CPR.

Raisbeck was taken to a nearby hospital, where she later died.

Ashley Raisbeck

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Family of woman who died while in custody at Jefferson Co. Jail demands answers

Kristian Lopez
4:49 PM, Dec 27, 2023

Anita Springsteen, the Raisbeck family's attorney has been looking into what happened. Springsteen said what she has discovered so far, has been alarming.

"You have an unexplained death, where somebody was on a 'so-called detox protocol', but then died, in part from dehydration. And that's a concern to me because you wouldn't even throw a sick dog in a cell and not give them water. But that is how people are being treated at this jail," she said.

Springsteen claims the Jeffco Sheriff 's Office and Jeffco District Attorney have failed to timely complete their investigations to inform the family of what occurred.

"We are still waiting more than six months later for information and videos and documents of what actually happened to her. And I think that that's unconscionable that a family should have to wait that long to know any kind of information," Springsteen said.

She claims JCSO is inaccurately describing what occurred with the death and failures with their detox protocol and said they intend to file a lawsuit against those involved.

"I think in Jefferson County, in general, I have always experienced a severe lack of transparency. And that needs to change, especially when somebody dies when they shouldn't have," she added.

Springsteen said she sent a letter of representation to the County Attorney's office on Mar. 5, 2024. That same day they said the CIRT (Critical Incident Response Team) report was sent to District Attorney, Alexis King for review, "So I have a question about when the report was actually completed, because it had to have been before March 5. And it's been another three months since that time. And I've had absolutely no communication from the district attorney about what is going on with the CIRT report."

Springsteen obtained the 911 calls from the day of Ashley's death and claims the staff member who made the call had a lack of urgency and awareness about what was going on.

"I spent a lot of time trying to get that 911 call. And when I heard it, it made me want to cry," she told Denver7. "You have a some kind of medical personnel — speaking on that call, who has absolutely no urgency in her voice, unfamiliar with the patient doesn't know what what medical emergency is happening and has to keep asking somebody else what's going on while she's calling 911."

Medical records show that Ashley was found at 10:17 a.m., however the 911 call wasn't made until an hour later, at 11:18 a.m.

Hospital records show Ashley arrived nearly two hours after staff first made contact with her that morning.

"That's way too much time when the hospital is six minutes from here," added Springsteen.

Raisbeck's autopsy report shows in part that she was dehydrated and had a large volume of black emesis, indicating she was throwing up blood.

"Why was she so severely dehydrated? That's a fixable issue," added Ashley's mother.
 
"Her blood pressure was really low, her pulse was low. They knew in time to do something," said Springsteen.

Family of woman who died while in custody at Jefferson Co. Jail demands answers

Rebecca Klymkowsky, with the Jefferson County attorney's office provided statements on behalf of the Sheriff's Office.

Klymkowsky said Raisbeck's case represents a very typical timeline for critical incident response team (CIRT) investigations. Use of CIRT is mandatory for officer-involved shootings and other uses of force by peace officers resulting in death. And, while not required by Colorado law, the Sheriff's Office has also requested that CIRT investigate all in-custody deaths in the Jefferson County Jail to ensure fair and impartial investigations occur into these incidents. This latter category includes Raisbeck's death, according to Klymkowsky.

She said CIRT is independent of the Sheriff's Office. Once that team finishes its investigation, they present it to the DA's Office for review and a decision on whether any criminal charges are warranted against any involved individual. The typical timeline for the DA's Office's decision from presentation is anywhere from three to six (3-6) months. Raisbeck's CIRT investigation is within the typical timeframe, the investigation started at the time of Raisbeck's death on December 16, 2023, was presented to the DA's Office on March 5, 2024, and is pending a decision letter from the DA's Office now, roughly three months after that presentation, she said.

She added that the Sheriff’s Office has accurately described the circumstances of Raisbeck’s death.

Klymkowsky tells Denver7 that Raisbeck self-reported "significant substance use upon intake, including 50 fentanyl pills per day for roughly the last eight and a half years, 3 grams of methamphetamine daily for the past three years, one bar of Xanax every other day for the last three months, and alcohol use."

They said Raisbeck was provided supportive care as she detoxed from those substances and was being brought down to the medical unit for IV fluids when she lost consciousness. Raisbeck ultimately died of intussusception of her large intestine, a rare and serious condition with symptoms that overlap with symptoms of other conditions, making it difficult to diagnose, according to the attorney's office.

While the Sheriff's Office acknowledges that Raisbeck's family has a right to file a lawsuit related to her death, they tell Denver7 they do not believe that there is any evidence to support a wrongful death claim related to this incident.

But Ashley's mother whole-heartedly believes her daughter's death could've been prevented.

"If she would have been monitored the way she should have been, my daughter would probably still be here today," she said.

Springsteen said they intend to file a lawsuit likely against the Sheriff's Office and County and VitalCore, the jail's medical company. Springsteen said the lack of information is delaying their efforts.

Denver7 reached out to VitalCore for a statement but have not heard back.

Family of JeffCo inmate who died in custody planning to file lawsuit


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