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Harrison inmate, 27, dies

The Indiana State Police is investigating a death after a 27-year-old female inmate died Thursday night.
According to the ISP, the Harrison County Sheriff’s Department and Harrison County Prosecutor Dennis L. Byrd, the woman, identified as Crystal Bryant Thompson of Pekin, was arrested for shoplifting at the Corydon Walmart Supercenter and was processed at the Harrison County Jail after 1 p.m.
According to a voluntary statement by Harrison County Jail Officer Matthew C. Puckett, who was working in the jail pod that night, Thompson received chest compressions beginning at about 9:04 p.m. and, approximately three minutes later, EMS personnel took over chest compressions and placed her on a backboard. At 9:16, the inmate left with EMS and was transported to Harrison County Hospital, where she was pronounced dead at approximately 9:45 p.m.
‘I am deeply troubled by this death, and I am committed to making sure that this matter is thoroughly investigated. I am extremely concerned about the incident, given recent allegations by inmates in the jail,’ Byrd said.
An autopsy has been performed by the Kentucky Medical Examiner’s Office in Louisville; however, results could take as many as six weeks to get back.
‘I believe that the citizens of the county are very concerned about the running of the jail, and I want to make certain that any investigation in this matter leave no stone unturned,’ Byrd said.
The investigation is continuing.
Ladonna McCoy of Palmyra said she never expected to get a call at 2:45 a.m. Friday that not only had her best friend been incarcerated, but had passed away.
‘I fell to the floor crying. I couldn’t believe it,’ McCoy said.
McCoy said she and Crystal Bryant-Thompson had been friends since they were 12. She said Thompson was living on Social Security after the death of her husband in August 2007 and was trying to make ends meet as a single mom of three children.
‘She’d never been in trouble before, outside of a speeding ticket. That was it. She’d been through a lot, but she was still very caring and loving. I was in an abusive relationship for seven years and if I ever needed anything, anytime, day or night, she’d be right there for me,’ McCoy said. ‘I talked to her the day before she died and she didn’t seem like she was on anything, but she had to be on something to shoplift. That wasn’t like her.’
McCoy said she believes that her friend may have been on Xanax, which is used to treat moderate to severe anxiety disorders and panic attacks, when Thompson shoplifted infant clothing for her daughter.
‘I’ve had Xanax. They hide everything that you are feeling. The only thing I can figure is, if she got caught doing something, maybe she took them to try to hide them,’ McCoy said.
Thompson’s parents will likely have joint custody of her three children, ages 5, 4 and 7 months.
McCoy had her own experience here as she was incarcerated at the Harrison County Jail in 2005 for illegal possession of alcoholic beverage by a minor and possession of marijuana. She said she was pregnant at the time and was ‘treated like scum.’
‘They wouldn’t give me water. They wouldn’t give me any extra food at all, even though any doctor will say that a pregnant mother has to eat a little more. It was awful,’ McCoy said. ‘I’m not surprised with everything that’s coming out.
‘(Corrections officers) knew she was on something because they called her mom to see if she had a narcotic problem. They just let her sit there, knowingly, and die. She asked for help and they denied her. They murdered her as far as I’m concerned, and now her babies don’t have their momma.’
McCoy said she expects Thompson’s parents to file a lawsuit in the matter.