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Baby born in jail dies, but ACSO disputes mom's claim she had no help

WGFL Gainesville logo WGFL Gainesville 8/21/2021 Taniqua Pennix

Erica Thompson told us after giving birth in the Alachua County Jail, her baby died hours later at the hospital. 

Inspector Brett Rhodenizer showed journalists a portion of the surveillance video from that night, but we were not able to record it. They did send us photos. “There were medical personnel with her while she was experiencing child birth, and brought everything that they could to provide her safety and the safety of her child," said Rhodenizer.

Erica Thompson was arrested for two active warrant charges Monday morning, August 9th.  At 9:50am, Thompson is pictured speaking to the nurse. She said she told the nurse she was having contractions, but no one took her seriously.

Rhodenizer said she didn't look distressed. “I will not speculate on how anyone individually displays pain. The common perception of what someone looks like in discomfort, we don’t see that in video," he said. 

Thompson told us she asked for help when she first arrived. Nearly 12 hours later, a picture shows Thompson knocking on the window from her cell seeking help. 

Rhodenizer said the cameras do not have audio. "I wish we did. I wish we did, we have ultimately, the medical records of that interaction with the contract medical personnel. Ultimately the only folks that can say what verbiage was exchanged are likely gonna be Ms. Thompson and any of those medical staff that she interacted with," he said. 

The Alachua County Sheriff’s Office, spokesperson Kaley Behl said it's an unfortunate situation, but they want the public to know they can trust the Sheriff’s Office. “The last thing we want to do is make anything worse from someone who has experienced the loss of a child,” said Behl.

The Sheriff’s office said it’s an on-going investigation, they will release video once the investigation is complete. 

Rhodenizer said they are scheduled to interview the medical staff next week. 

Erica Thompson said she’s still grieving and no one from the Sheriff’s office has reached out to her.


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