Probe into death of inmate who lost 40 pounds in 4 days

SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 Utah) There is a new request for the Utah Attorney General's office to investigate a highly controversial death at the Duchesne County jail. Also to look into other inmate deaths and whether there is adequate medical care at the jail.

It comes from the Utah Prisoner Advocate Network, a group comprised primarily of families with loved ones in the Utah prison system. They are obviously concerned about the treatment of people behind bars.

"I was appalled, I was heartbroken," says UPAN's founder Mollie Prince after viewing a series of investigative stories by ABC4's Randall Carlisle.

Those stories revealed the shocking facts surrounding the death last December of 21-year-old Madison Jensen who went into the jail on minor drug charges.

The Medical Examiner's report contains documents claiming Madison weighed 129 pounds when she was booked in and 4 days later was found dead in her cell, covered in vomit, weighing only 87 pounds.

Her father, Jared Jensen, claims she was vomiting violently for several days. The M.E.'s report includes a handwritten plea from Madison asking for medical help.

UPAN's Mollie Prince says "if somebody is vomiting for 4 days, projectile vomiting for 4 days, they lose 40 pounds. I can't imagine that there is not anyone on the jail staff that knew what was going on."

She can't believe there's been no response from Duchesne County. No reprimands, or firings or any admission of guilt. So she concludes, "at this point it's time for the Attorney General's office to step in and do an investigation. I think maybe they are the only ones who can really get to the bottom of this."

She understands the frustration of family members with loved ones in jail. "It's really horrible to feel so helpless. To know what could happen to our loved ones who are incarcerated, when proper procedures aren't taken to care for them medically."

In Madison's case, Prince claims at the very least she should have been seen by a doctor if not taken directly to the hospital. Father Jared Jensen has told ABC 4 many times that a simple bag of IV fluid would have saved her life.

We asked Molly Prince what she would say if she could confront Duchesne County officials. "It is your responsibility. Step up. Be accountable and figure out a way to improve any changes so this never ever happens to anyone again."

And if she met father Jared Jensen face to face? "I would just say my heart breaks for you. If you have to do a lawsuit, you do whatever you have to do to understand what happened to your daughter and to help contribute so that it doesn't happen to anyone again."

The Attorney General's office late Monday confirmed it will be reviewing Madison's case. Here's the strange twist. The review was requested by none other than Duchesne County Attorney Stephen Foote, who hasn't had much to say so far about the case.

This is part of the statement from the A.G.'s office. "The Office of the Attorney General has been asked by Stephen Foote, the Duchesne County Attorney, to review the investigation into the death of Madison Jensen to determine whether any charges should be filed." 

This story is far from over.


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