Investigation underway after baby born on floor of Floyd County Detention Center dies
The mother complained of cramps for hours. Now, investigators are looking into who is responsible, and two very different stories are emerging.
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- A premature baby died after his mother delivered on the floor of her Floyd County jail cell.
His name was Elijah, born small enough to fit in the palm of a hand, just 17 weeks into Angela Booker's pregnancy.
"I've never been treated like such an animal in my entire life," the mother said. "I was screaming and crying and begging for them to call an ambulance."
But there are polar opposite stories surrounding the baby's short life.
"At no time were my corrections officers ever notified or told that she was in labor or that she was having contractions," said Chief Deputy Wayne Kessinger of the Floyd County Sheriff's Office. "The only things that she would tell them is that she had abdominal pain."
Jail officials say they thought it was withdraw. New Albany police arrested Booker on New Year's Day for a heroin charge.
Kessinger said the jail doctor told staff to monitor the expectant mother. Guards checked 16 times between her first complaint of cramps around 6 p.m. Thursday and the baby's delivery around 4 a.m. Friday, but she was never examined by a nurse or a physician.
"There wasn't any discharge, there wasn't blood everywhere," Kessinger said. "There wasn't the screams they are talking about. Had that occurred then she would have immediately been transported."
After giving birth on cold floor of her cell, Booker and the baby were eventually brought to the hospital in Floyd County. But by the time they arrived, doctors could not save Elijah.
"Now we know what's happened," said Booker's attorney Stephen Beardsley. "What's the likelihood of her not telling them 16 times that she's having the baby?"
Beardsley said Monday that he plans to file a wrongful death lawsuit against the jail on the baby's behalf. It brings with it tough questions on blame.
Was the jail negligent?
Kessinger says his corrections officers did "a good job, followed policies and procedures and did everything they're asked to do."
Or did Booker's admitted heroin use cause a miscarriage?
"If they could have done whatever they do to stop pre-term labor, he would still be here," Booker said. "But since I got ignored for 12 hours, and he come out, it was too late."
The one area where both Booker and the jail staff agree is she was examined by a jail nurse the day after being arrested and at that time, the baby was in good health.
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