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A woman died at the Jefferson County Detention Facility in 2021. Her family says her death was preventable

When police showed up at Kristie Angelo’s home to tell her that her daughter had died in a detention center, it was the first she heard that her daughter, Abby Angelo, had been arrested.

After nine days at the Jefferson County Detention Facility, Abby Angelo died of a heart infection that her family said was preventable.

Her family is suing the facility, sheriff’s department and private health care contractor, claiming her condition was treatable if she had been taken to a hospital and provided better onsite care.

“I am hoping that my daughter has justice for what happened to her. Most importantly, I also hope that it never happens again to anyone else in this jail or any jail,” said Kristie Angelo.

On June 19, 2021, Abby Angelo was found in her car when police responded to calls about a potential drug overdose in a King Soopers parking lot, according to the complaint. Upon arrival, the police arrested Angelo for three outstanding warrants related to identity theft and drug possession and transported her to the JeffCo detention center.

The Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office and Detention FacilityHart Van Denburg/CPR News
The Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office and Detention Facility.

In the days leading up to her death, the complaint says Angelo suffered from severe body pains, elevated heart rate, a fever and shortness of breath. She didn’t eat and didn’t take any “day time” outside her cell. The complaint suggests she was in the early stage of a heart infection when admitted to the center, which ultimately killed her. She was 29 when she died.

Other than an initial examination on the night of her arrest and a mental health check-in the next day, Angelo was not seen by medical staff for six days after her arrest. According to the complaint, her oxygen saturation level was at 85, which is 3 degrees below the threshold at which patients are typically admitted to the emergency room.

The complaint alleges that a nurse should have transported Angelo to the hospital given her dangerously low vital signs at the time of her June 25 appointment. Instead, the nurse opted to wait out her symptoms rather than seek more medical support.

Kristie Angelo said Abby Angelo is her only daughter and is deeply missed by her family. Abby Angelo leaves behind an 11-year-old son who lives in Illinois with her mother.

“I am her voice right now, and I am fighting for her. I believe she’s entitled to her justice. She didn’t have a voice and didn’t get the care that she needed in the jail, and she suffered a lot,” Kristie Angelo said.

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