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Attorney describes conditions at jail before Ta’Neasha Chappell’s death as ‘cruel and unusual punishment’

Family said they received concerning phone calls from Chappell while she was in jail over the last two months and were worried her calls for help went unanswered.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — For the first time publicly, the family of 23-year-old Ta'Neasha Chappell stood alongside one of their attorneys, Lonita Baker, as they gave new details about the days leading up to her July 16 death. 

"The conditions in the Jackson County Jail are what we describe as cruel and unusual punishment," said Baker. 

This past week, Baker alongside Sam Aguiar and Ben Crump took over the case. The same legal team now tackling Chappell's case secured a $12 million settlement for Taylor's family in 2020. Crump has also represented the families of George Floyd and other Black Americans killed by police.

 "She went in a healthy young 23-year-old woman, a mother and she should have returned to the family that same way," said Baker. 

Indiana State Police said Chappell died at a Seymour hospital Friday after being taken by an ambulance from the Jackson County Jail.

RELATED: 'I want the truth. I want justice.' | Family demands answers after Louisville woman dies while in custody at Jackson County Jail

Family members told WHAS11 a detective informed them of Chappell's death, but provided little information — only telling them she reported feeling sick to jail officials before the ambulance was called. The family said they received concerning phone calls from Chappell while she was in jail over the last two months and were worried her calls for help went unanswered.

"She told me if something happened to her to get to the bottom of it. Our last conversation I think she just put on a big front, I don't think she wanted us to know what she was going through," said Chappell's sister Ronesha Murrell.

On July 15th, Baker says the sheriff's office told the family Chappell spiked a fever and the Jackson County jail began monitoring her fever every 15 minutes. Then Chappell began to vomit as well. 

Indiana State Police said the 23-year-old died at a Seymour hospital Friday after being taken by an ambulance from the Jackson County Jail.

"It wasn't until she was found unresponsive that they called EMS," said Baker. 

Chappell had been in the Jackson County Jail for almost two months on multiple felony and misdemeanor charges related to resisting law enforcement, theft, leaving the scene of an accident, and reckless driving causing bodily injury. 

Indiana State Police has conducted an autopsy and is awaiting results. According to Baker, the sheriff's department told the family they are speculating Chappell's death was a chemical issue. Baker disagrees and has contacted an independent medical examiner to perform an autopsy.