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Guadalupe Leyva, one of three jailed to death in Ector County

Aug 22nd, 2013 | Category: Ector County

BY CHRIS BARTLETT, Thursday, August 15, 2013 5:31 pm

There have been 30 complaints filed against the Ector County Detention Center with the Texas Commission on Jail Standards, ranging from criminal to inadequate medical care allegations,  by inmates within the jail since January 1 of 2012.

John Douglas Turner, 36, collapsed around 2 a.m. Wednesday in his cell at the Ector County Detention Center.

Ector County Medical personnel performed CPR on Turner in his cell until he was able to be transported to Medical Center Hospital by ambulance.

He was pronounced dead at MCH after never having regained consciousness. An autopsy is scheduled for him Friday morning.

Tony Sanchez was Turner’s boss and friend for more than a decade and said he may not have received adequate medical attention during his time in the Ector County Detention Center.


“I heard from people inside (the jail) he had a toothache for months,” Sanchez said in a phone call to the Odessa American Thursday morning. “They (jailers) were just giving him ibuprofen.”


Sanchez said based on the information given to him from other inmates inside the Ector County Detention Center, Turner’s toothache may have been infected and possibly played a role in his death Wednesday morning at Medical Center Hospital after collapsing in his cell.


Sheriff Mark Donaldson said Wednesday that Turner was not being treated for anything to his knowledge.


In another interview on Thursday, Donaldson said Turner had been complaining of a toothache and was being treated with ibuprofen and possibly other medication to help with the pain.


Donaldson said there is nursing staff employed by the jail and doctors contracted through Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center that visit the jail to conduct inmate check-ups.


Donaldson said he believed inmates at the Ector County Detention Center were being treated adequately and there was a protocol in place when complaints are filed with the Texas Commission on Jail Standards.


“I know periodically inmates file complaints with jail commission,” Donaldson said. “The commission will notify us of the complaint and we respond with records then notify the inmate what has happened. If they say they haven’t been allowed to see a doctor, we show where they have—things like that.”


A June report from the TCJS stated the Ector County Detention Center was non-compliant with state standards because of overcrowding and failing to keep the proper jailer-to-inmate ratio.


Donaldson said he does not believe past overcrowding has affected the quality of medical attention inmates have received.


“The jail is built for so many beds and there are less people in there than that,” Donaldson said. “There’s nobody sleeping on floors unless they want to.”


The last in-custody deaths occurred in March and May of 2011.


On March 22, 32-year-old Juan Carrasco suffered a seizure while being booked into the Ector County Detention Center hitting his head on the concrete floor.


Carrasco was transported to Medical Center Hospital, but his family was not notified until almost 12 hours after he arrived at the hospital. Carrasco later died after being taken off life-support on his 33rd birthday.


The death was investigated by Texas Rangers and the sheriff’s office was ultimately cleared of any criminal probability as the death was ruled accidental. Donaldson did acknowledge proper protocol was not followed when his staff failed to notify Carrasco’s family when he was transported to the hospital.


Guadulpe Dominguez Leyva, 45, died May 11, 2011 after being transported to MCH the day before for an unknown medical problem.


An autopsy conducted May 12 of that year confirmed Leyva’s death was the result of complications of megacolon.


Families of both Leyva and Carrasco have filed suit against the Ector County Sheriff’s department in the wake of their loved ones’ deaths.


A lawsuit filed by Leyva’s family stated her daughter contacted the Ector County Detention Center about 20 times to complain about her mother’s health.


Both lawsuits are currently pending.








Family sues county for inmate death, June 2013

BY JON VANDERLAAN jvanderlaan@oaoa.com

The family of a 45-year-old woman who died as an inmate in the Ector County Detention Center has sued Ector County and Sheriff Mark Donaldson. Guadalupe Dominguez Leyva was arrested in December 2009 and charged with assaulting a peace officer.

A year and a half later, Leyva was transported to Medical Center Hospital for an unknown medical problem, and was pronounced dead within 24 hours.

According to the federal lawsuit, Leyva went through a court-ordered psychological evaluation in October 2010, at which point the psychologist Jarvis Wright concluded Leyva did not have the mental ability to consult with her attorney and did not have an understanding of the charges against her.

Wright also diagnosed her with schizoaffective disorder and other “severe mental disorders,” functioning at a level of 35 on a scale of 10 to 100.

According to the National Library of Medicine’s website, schizoaffective disorder is a medical condition that causes a loss of contact with reality and mood problems and symptoms include social isolation, delusions and hallucinations.

But after her diagnosis, the lawsuit — which was filed by her husband and daughter — claims that the county didn’t take the proper steps to care for her and her mental illness.

“Beginning approximately six months prior to her death, Guadalupe complained incessantly to her daughter that she was experiencing constant stomach pain and that she was not receiving medications for her mental illness,” according to the lawsuit. “She also complained (to her daughter) and jailers that she was unable to eat the food provided to her because it made her sick.”

According to the lawsuit, Leyva’s daughter contacted the Ector County Detention Center about 20 times to complain about her health.

Five days before her death, the lawsuit stated that Leyva told her daughter she was unable to use the restroom for about a week and that jailers were not responding to her please of help.

According to the lawsuit, the autopsy report revealed Leyva’s cause of death was complications of megacolon.

The lawsuit accused Ector County and Donaldson of violating several of Leyva’s Constitutional rights “by failing to provide proper medical treatment, by failing to protect her and by demonstrating indifference to her medical needs.”

It is also filed under the Wrongful Death Act and the family is seeking an unspecified amount of money.

A woman who answered the phone at the Ector County Sheriff’s Office said Donaldson was not in town when contacted for comment.

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1 Comment
teresa turner
9 years ago

I hope they win. My brother died in that place from an abcess tooth and I’m sure more lawsuits are on the way!!!