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Woman dies in New York holding cell, AG investigates

A 44-year-old mother of eight died in her holding cell on Monday in Mount Vernon, New York, after being held for two days.

Raynette Turner was arrested for shoplifting Saturday. On Sunday night, Turner told jailers that she wasn’t feeling well. Turner, who reportedly had a medical history of high blood pressure and who had underwent a weight-loss surgery last year, was taken to the hospital and returned to her cell several hours later, police said. Hours before her arraignment, she was found dead.

Before he learned of her death, Turner’s husband was told that his wife would be released from jail without bail.

New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman’s office is launching an investigation into Turner’s death, which happened two weeks after Sandra Bland was found dead of apparent suicide in her jail cell.

According to Bureau of Justice Statistics, roughly 1,000 people die in U.S. jails each year. A third of those deaths are suicides.

When someone goes to prison, administrators get a detailed account of an inmate’s history, NPR reported. That’s not the case in jail, where new arrivals usually fill out a questionnaire on mental health.

Editor’s note: This story has been updated to correct the number of days Raynette Turner spent in jail.

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