JEFFERSONVILLE — The daughter of a woman who died Friday after being found unresponsive in her cell in Clark County jail described her mother as giving, loving and supportive.
Amanda Joy Lewis, 42, was found unresponsive by jail staff around 7:30 p.m. Friday. Staff rendered first aid and CPR before transporting Lewis to Clark Memorial Hospital, where she died shortly after 8 p.m., the Clark County Sheriff's Office previously reported.
Lewis' daughter, Heaven Lewis, said in a text message that she learned of her mother's death around 10:30 p.m. Friday, a revelation that's shaken the family.
"My mother was a giving, loving person," she said. "She would give the clothes off her back to anyone," she said.
Heaven said she has not been able to find out much from police since then, other than that detectives are handling the case.
Col. Scottie Maples with the Clark County Sheriff's Office said Tuesday that Lewis had not filed any medical requests while at the jail. He deferred questions about whether or not she had received medical treatment, was under any type of a watch or what type of cell she was housed in to the Floyd County Sheriff's Department, which began an investigation earlier this week at the request of Clark County.
Floyd County Sheriff Frank Loop declined to comment on the matter Wednesday, citing the pending investigation.
While not speaking directly about this case, Maples said inmates are asked about any medical conditions or medication needed first by the arresting officer and again during intake at the jail. He said once staff receives this information, any treatment received is on a case-by-case basis since medical issues can vary.
"If a person says 'I'm on this medication, I haven't taken it today. If I don't take it there's potential for me to have severe medical problems and/or death,' we're calling our nurse at that minute and our nurse is either coming in or we're sending them to the hospital," he said.
He added that if the jail is aware of urgent medical issues right away, such as a broken arm, they can refuse to admit the person into jail, have the arresting officer take them to the hospital and book them into jail once they're medically cleared. He said there is a nurse on staff most of the day, and one on call during other hours.
Lewis was arrested July 1 on multiple charges, including theft and possession of a syringe. Court records show the sheriff's office advised the court that Lewis refused to attend court hearings on July 3 and 5, although there are no details at this time as to why she refused. Court records show she did appear in court on separate charges July 2.
Clark County Coroner Billy Scott said it may be four weeks before autopsy and toxicology results are available, and a preliminary cause of death is not possible before that.
Heaven Lewis said she was not aware of any medical issues her mother had beyond living with an addiction. She and other family and friends are planning a candlelight walk this weekend from Maple Street to the Clark County Courthouse and the jail on Court Avenue to honor her mother.
Lewis had been a home health aide for seniors before becoming a stay-at-home mom. She had been previously been prescribed Xanax for extreme anxiety, her daughter said, but had later moved to heroin. Heaven said even as Lewis had struggled with drugs, she did her best to be close to her family. At the time of her death, she had been on the waiting list at Turning Point Center, Heaven said.
"Through her addiction, she tried hard to be a good momma," she said. "She was at all the family events and wouldn't miss anything if she was able to be there. She provided us and my daughter the best Christmas and Easter ... she always insisted on taking pictures and reminiscing on when life was easier."