No charges filed after woman with fibromyalgia dies in jail
Brenda Sewell never expected her trip to Colorado with her sister to end in tragedy. After visiting the state, she began her long journey home to Missouri, but she was pulled over for speeding in Kansas. Sewell admitted to carrying a small amount of marijuana for medical purposes because she suffered from fibromyalgia and other autoimmune disorders. The events that followed sealed her fate and devastated her family.
Both Brenda Sewell and Joy Biggs, her sister, were arrested by Kansas police because of the marijuana found in the car. Sewell died after becoming sick in jail, but her sister survived. Brenda Sewell had a long list of medical problems, and her family believes she did not receive proper treatment while in prison. Despite the prosecutor’s decision not to file charges, the family plans to sue.
Brenda Sewell suffered from fibromyalgia, Hepatitis C, rheumatoid arthritis, Sjogren's syndrome, high blood pressure and thyroid disease. She was on multiple medications to help her control these disorders, but she also found that medicinal marijuana decreased her pain. During her two-day stay in jail, Sewell became sick and started vomiting. She also complained about abdominal pain and respiratory issues, but police records show that initially the staff thought she was faking it. Eventually, they realized her medical problems were real and provided treatment, yet Brenda Sewell continued to get worse by suffering from seizures. Her spleen ruptured, and she passed away in her cell.
The tragedy for the Sewell family did not end with her death, and her sister was charged with possession of the marijuana found by officers. She could not find the money for a trial and was forced to accept a guilty plea along with probation. The family is devastated by the way Sewell was treated and strongly believes she did not get treatment in time to save her.
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