The family of Ta’Neasha Chappell is seeking answers after the 23-year-old died while in police custody at the Jackson County Jail in Brownstown, Indiana. Chappell was being held on shoplifting charges and was taken into custody on May 26, Newsweek reported.
Ta’Neasha who was originally from Louisville, Kentucky, was rushed to Schneck Memorial Hospital on July 16, and later passed away that same day. Details are still developing around the cause of her death.
Her mother Lativa McCain revealed that she often called stating that she was fearful for her life in prison.
“She called every day telling us to get her out of there,” McCain told WDRB. ‘Mama they’re going to kill me in here, they’re going to kill me in here,’ and she would always say ‘get me out of here if anything happens to me just know that they did it.’
An emotional McCain added that she feels a deep sense of regret because she wasn’t able to come up with the $4007 bond Ta’Neasha was being held on prior to her unexpected death.
“My baby died in jail… in jail. I feel like I failed her because I didn’t have the money to get her out,” McCain told the outlet.
The family suspects foul play was involved, citing that Chappell was in good health and in good spirits the last time they were able to speak to her. However, the family added that Chappell mentioned she was encountering a few problems with inmates during her prison stay.
Chappell’s family is pleading with detectives and authorities to release more information behind the investigation but according to her sister Ronesha Murrell, officials have been mum regarding further details surrounding Ta’Neasha’s death.
“My mom hasn’t even been able to verify the body. Why has not she been able to verify the body…. They won’t give us any answers,” Murrell said.
Authorities say Chappell was taken into custody after allegedly stealing more than $3,000 worth of merchandise from an outlet mall Ralph Lauren, then leading police on a car chase.
A GoFundMe has been created to help support Ta’Neasha’s family with funeral arrangements. Chappell leaves behind a 10-year-old daughter who the family says “will miss her terribly.”
There’s an eery similarity between Ta’Neasha’s case and the death of Sandra Bland who was found hanging in her jail cell back in July 2015. The incident occurred just three days after she was arrested following a routine traffic stop. Questions are still looming as to whether Bland’s death was caused by police officials or self-afflicted.
One thing remains clear in both heartwrenching incidents. The fight for Black lives and police reform in the United States continues to be an ongoing battle, particularly for Black women.
Our prayers go out to Chappell’s family.