Prosecutor: Jail inmate’s cause of death ruled ‘undetermined’

The Jackson County prosecutor has ruled a Jackson County Jail inmate’s cause of death to be undetermined.

Late this afternoon, Prosecutor Jeff Chalfant released his findings following the review of a five-month investigation by detectives with the Indiana State Police Versailles Post into the death of Ta’Neasha Chappell, who was an inmate housed in the Jackson County Jail in Brownstown.

In a news release, Chalfant said it’s clear from the results of the autopsy that Chappell did not die of an inflicted injury.

“To rephrase, Miss Chappell did not die of any puncture wounds, asphyxiation or or blunt-force trauma,” Chalfant said.

The autopsy also determined the manner of death is undetermined. Chalfant said manners of death can be categorized as natural, homicide, suicide, accidental or undetermined.

The state police investigation did not uncover any evidence indicating Chappell was knowingly or intentionally killed by another person, whether a jail employee or fellow inmate, or any evidence that her death was caused by a knowing or intentional act with the purpose to harm her, according to the news release.

Therefore, there is no evidence that Chappell was the victim of murder, voluntary manslaughter or involuntary manslaughter, Chalfant said.

On the afternoon of July 15, Chappell told the jail staff she had been throwing up blood. Jail staff investigated and saw no blood.

Over a period of several hours, her conditions gradually worsened. Beginning around noon July 16, Chappell’s condition began deteriorating more rapidly. She received some medical care by jail personnel and was relocated within the confines of the jail so her medical condition could more closely be observed. She eventually was transported by ambulance to Schneck Medical Center in Seymour for medical care.

The care administered to Chappell both at the jail and at the hospital was unsuccessful in saving her life.

“Miss Chappell was not denied medical care,” Chalfant said. “Whether a person or entity had a duty of reasonable care toward a person and if that care was sufficient or a breach of that duty of reasonable care are matters of civil law and not criminal law. What is clear is that efforts were made by Jackson County Jail personnel to address the claimed medical needs of Miss Chappell, and the timing of the application of medical care or misappreciation of the seriousness of the medical circumstances of Miss Chappell, if applicable, is not ‘reckless’ conduct toward Miss Chappell, and therefore, her death was not the result of a reckless homicide.”

Chalfant said his office found that no crimes were committed by inmates or employees of the jail related to Chappell’s death.

“As stated previously, the focus of this review is whether any crimes were committed
by inmates or employees of the Jackson County Jail during the time leading up to the death of
Ta’Neasha Chappell,” he said. “This report makes no findings and no conclusions about the standard of care provided by employees of the Jackson County Jail.”

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