The Texas Rangers are investigating the death of a young African-American woman who was held in a Walker County jail for two weeks, after her car rolled over on I-45 and state troopers arrested her for possession of cocaine and providing false identification. She was apparently unable to post bond.
According to KHOU, 22-year-old Symone Marshall was taken into custody following a single-car accident. Walker County officials told the station that responding paramedics didn't notice any "obvious injury," and Marshall refused medical treatment. KHOU says a second passenger who was in the car with Marshall was also charged with possession of cocaine and bonded out the next day, but Marshall, whose bond was set at $5,000, was unable to pay and remained in jail.
Marshall's family told KHOU that they spoke with her on the phone several times while she was in jail, and that she complained that her head hurt and that she felt like "blacking out." They said they called the jail, and were told Marshall had seen a doctor in the jail, but they requested Marshall be sent to a hospital.
On May 10, Marshall had a seizure and was immediately taken to the hospital, where she was pronounced dead, jail officials said according to KHOU.
"My sister Symone moved to Texas for a fresh start in life a few months ago," Marshall's sister, Honey, told the New York Daily News. "She was doing good down there, had a job and was about to buy a house. She's a beautiful person, never been in trouble before and didn't deserve this."
It's standard procedure for the Rangers to investigate in-custody deaths, and Walker County Sheriff Clint McRae told KHOU that his department followed proper protocols. An autopsy report for Marshall is pending, and we don't know much at the moment about the circumstances of her death. What we do know: Marshall is another name added to a troubling trend of jailhouse deaths in Texas.
Keep the Houston Press Free... Since we started the Houston Press, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Houston, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Houston with no paywalls.