The death of a woman who died while in police custody, after a domestic dispute outside of Cleveland, is now being investigated, Ohio officials said Monday.
Ralkina Jones, 37, was arrested on Friday July 24 after getting into a fight with her ex-husband in a Save-a-Lot grocery store parking lot, according to a police report.
She was found unresponsive in her jail cell two days later and pronounced dead on Sunday morning, officials said.
The Cuyahoga County Medical Examiners Office says there were no “suspicious” injuries revealed during an initial autopsy and that the cause of death was under investigation.
The death comes amid national speculation over the treatment of another woman in Texas who allegedly committed suicide after what started as a rather routine traffic stop escalated into a felony.
Jones’ sister, Regina Samuels, told NBC News Monday that her sister had a few minor medical conditions that required daily medications and there are still many questions left unanswered regarding how she died.
“They did take her to the hospital [but] we don’t know what happened with that. She stayed there for a few hours and they took her back to the jail,” she explained. “Maybe they didn’t give her any medication or give it to her when she needed it?”
Cleveland Heights Police said Jones’ medical conditions were “documented during her intake process and she was administered her prescribed medication as directed.”
Police also said Jones appeared lethargic in her cell Saturday, was transported to the hospital for evaluation and promptly returned to the jail around 11:40 p.m. ET. About an hour later, paramedics came to check her vital signs and everything appeared normal. Jones was found dead in her cell at 7:35 a.m. that morning, police said.
Samuels said that Jones’ 10-year-old daughter still needs to be informed of her mother’s death. Jones is one of seven siblings — all girls — and worked at AT&T for a number of years but was on leave and seeking other employment. Samuels said her sister had never been in serious trouble with the police.
Over the weekend, two of Jones’ sisters, Renee Ashford and Rita Samuels were in touch with her, family said. They talked a few times on the phone and Rita even brought medications to the jail on Saturday. The conversations were light and mostly about making sure her daughter was taken care of and her house was locked up, Regina Samuels said.
“I want to know, literally, what happened to my sister this weekend,” she said. “She wasn’t that sick, she was 37-years-old.”