Family Questions Inmate Death, Sheriff Responds

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We have new details in the death of an Ector County Inmate Tuesday.

27 year old Tommy Garza Jr. was found unresponsive in his cell, and later died at the hospital.

CBS 7 has been looking into allegations made by his family, of medical mistreatment.

Ector County Sheriff Mark Donaldson says he can't show us the documents since the investigation is ongoing, but he does have the proof that they properly took care of this inmate.

"Obviously when we have to do a headcount everybody has to come to the window,” says Sheriff Donaldson about how they found Garza unresponsive in his holding cell with 23 other inmates, “so we can check their armband and he wouldn’t come up there […] Medical came down and got him responsive, got him in a wheelchair […] waiting for the ambulance to arrive, then he became unresponsive again. “

Garza, was described as charismatic, down to earth, and outgoing.

Almost immediately his family took to Facebook to question the handling of what they call a past medical condition.

“Two days in a row advising me that they were denying him medical treatment,” says Garza’s father, Tommy Rodriguez. He says the jail did not accept some of the medication family members dropped off for Garza.

"Some things can't be given within the jail facility but they do [an] alternate method,” says the sheriff about inmates taking medication.
The sheriff was not specific about what medications were administered to Garza citing HIPPA laws.

"I think it has something to with rules and I guess they said that he couldn’t have narcotics,” says Rodriguez. “If they had problems with his medications or something wrong, then I think the county jail should have took him to the Medical Center Hospital. Rodriguez says law enforcement should have had a doctor look at his son to see what medications they could give to him.

"Public can say what they want about anything and post it on Facebook and everything else but they don't what happens,” says Sheriff Donaldons, “and that's what the Rangers are there to investigate and find out what exactly happened if there’s something anybody did wrong."

Garza's body was sent to Tarrant County for an autopsy. Both the sheriff and family members say they'll know more when the results come back.