Sunday, August 06, 2000

Inmate's death a matter for FBI

The Associated Press

        LOUISVILLE — The FBI is investigating the death of a woman serving a prison term at the Kentucky Correctional Institution for Women at Pee Wee Valley.

        Sherry Edwards Sloan, 27, of Bowling Green, died at Norton Hospital in Louisville on Feb. 8 after she was found unconscious on the floor of her cell by a guard.

        FBI spokesman David Beyer said his agency became interested in the case after it received a letter from the family's attorney, Flora Templeton Stuart.

        “It is our belief that Sherry Sloan was beaten to death in prison,” Ms. Stuart wrote.

        Ms. Sloan, who was serving a seven-year sentence for assault, was found by a guard in the prison's Special Management Unit after 8 p.m. lying on her stomach and not breathing.

        A nurse attempted CPR on Ms. Sloan, who was transported to the hospital, where she later died.

        Ms. Sloan's death was attributed to hypoxic encephalipathy, or a lack of oxygen due to seizure activity, said Jefferson County Deputy Coroner Jo Ann Farmer.

        A final diagnosis completed in March revealed that Ms. Sloan also had contusions on her right forehead and eye, her right hand, arm and legs and that she also had several factured ribs. Ms. Farmer said the fractures could have come from chest compressions during CPR.

        Family members say she was mentally ill and was under the care of a psychiatrist while in prison.

        Ms. Sloan's sister, Debra Jones, and her father, Howard Lindsey, said they don't believe she died of natural causes. Mr. Lindsey said Ms. Sloan complained that she was mistreated in jail because she was overweight.

        Carol Czirr, a spokeswoman for the Kentucky Department of Correction, said Ms. Sloan weighed 408 pounds and was receiving medical care.

        Czirr said her department has not been contacted by the FBI. But she said her department found no foul play was involved.


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