Brenda Todd's Death: Did Arizona Department of Corrections Personnel Ignore Her Cries for Help?

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Arizona prison inmate Brenda Todd, who died in ADC custody January 21

Like most death announcements from the Arizona Department of Corrections, the one for Brenda Todd, who died January 21 in custody at Goodyear's Perryville Prison, is spare and unemotional.

It relates that Todd, 44, was found unresponsive in her cell, that medical responders attempted to revive her, but were unsuccessful, and she was pronounced dead. It also indicates that her death is "under investigation" by ADC.

Since Todd's death, I've been in touch with several individuals who claim Todd pleaded for medical attention days before she was found dead, and that she even banged on the wall or door of her cell the night before her demise, asking for help.

Todd was doing 2.5 years for an aggravated DUI out of Pinal County. She was housed in Perryville's minimum security Santa Maria Unit.

One of her fellow prisoners at Santa Maria Unit was Leona Nieves, who met Todd while Nieves was doing a ten day stint for aggravated DUI.

Nieves, who was given supervised release on Sunday, January 23, remembers Todd complaining about chest and neck pains during the two or three days before her death. She also believes Todd was on medication for asthma.

On the yard, Todd would tell anyone who would listen of her ailments.

"She's like, `I'm having trouble breathing, I have chest pains, the back of my neck hurts,' Nieves recalled Todd telling her. "A lot of times, she would go to lay down, because she just didn't feel good. But...even that wasn't making her feel comfortable."

Nieves said Todd informed prison staff of her symptoms, and she was told to fill out the paperwork to see a doctor. Nieves said she believes Todd was supposed to see a doctor the day of her death.

This next part, Nieves did not hear directly, but only discovered second hand from other prisoners. However, I've also gotten reports second-hand repeating this charge from relatives of prisoners at Santa Maria Unit and from local prison rights activists.

"The girls were saying they could hear [Todd] pounding, asking for help," said Nieves of the hours before Todd was discovered dead. "That's when they overheard [a corrections officer] saying, `Go lay down, sleep it off.'"

If true, Todd's death could be eerily reminiscent in some ways of the infamous 2009 death of Marcia Powell, a Perryville prisoner left for four hours in a human cage in the blazing Arizona sun. Some witnesses said Powell pleaded for water but was rebuffed by corrections officers.

In the fallout from Powell's death, reforms were implemented by ADC, at least 16 ADC employees were either sanctioned or fired, and ADC ultimately submitted a more than 3,000 page report to the Maricopa County Attorney's Office, seeking indictments. 

However, last year, the MCAO declined to prosecute any of those involved due to what it called "insufficient evidence."

Next of kin was located for Powell, her adoptive mother, but she declined to get involved.

Sure, Todd's death doesn't involve an outside enclosure. But the statements of Nieves and others raise serious concerns about how prison staff respond to inmates' basic needs, such as medical. 

Todd was apparently a low-maintenance inmate, with absolutely zero disciplinary write-ups.

ADC spokesperson Bill Lamoreaux declined to comment on the allegations regarding Todd pending the outcome of ADC's investigation. 

I also talked with ADC spokesman Barrett Marson, who explained that ADC will not be able to complete its investigation until the county medical examiner's report is in, and ADC will have no comment on the death until that time.

More as I get it...


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54 comments
Julie Acklin
Julie Acklin

Remembering Brenda .She died in Az prison as her cries were ignored.

Julie Acklin
Julie Acklin

 Brenda died.her cries ignored.Remembering Brenda.

Julie Acklin
Julie Acklin

 Brenda died as many others have from cries ignored .Az it is time for change.

Julie Acklin
Julie Acklin

Brenda died her cries were ignored Az prisons torture and death.

Jody
Jody

"My dearest Brenda...Though I have never known you. I love you...From one human being to another..I love you...You were and still are some mothers' and fathers' child...You lived as any other... You grew up with hopes, dreams, desires...You wanted for your Prince, as you wanted to be Princess...Now, you are as clean, as your mother used to rinse you as a baby lamb...Only now...It is our Lord and Savior who has cleansed you spotless...You are now as you once were... Immaculate, Innocent, Deserving, Beautiful...You are again and so forever more...an ANGEL...!!!!!!!!!!"

Thereasa_3
Thereasa_3

OMG!!!! our wonderful system strikes again... I just found out about Brendas death and i am horrified.. She was an amazing woman. Shame on you all for seeing someone who is incarcerated as less than.. You know the saying There by the grace of god there go I.. POS!!!!

Mickeyshatzer
Mickeyshatzer

brenda todd and I were very close friends and this is a total outrage. I have missed her terribly and someone needs to be held accountable. How the hell do you just walk on by someone crying out for life and tell them to sleep it off? My Brenda is still sleeping it off permanently. Rest in Peace Brenda.

expat2u
expat2u

The Arizona Department of f---ktards and corruptions strikes again. Something tells me that if you were stabbed and bleeding to death, those morons would still tell you to "go lay down and sleep it off." Clearly there's no IQ requirement for working as a *giggle, eep, choke* "correctional officer."

Gary
Gary

Some of the truths about Brenda Todds Death,

First and foremost the medical system at the Santa Maria Unit of Perryville did fail her. They spent too much time brushing away her need for seeing  doctor by making her wait with a submitted health needs request. Though the autopsy results have not been made public it is very likely that she was having a slow anafilactic shock to changes in her medication she was possibly allergic too. As the medication was building in her system so was her bodies swelling response until it cut her airway totally.

Secondly, she was a victim of staff inexperience. The State cross level staffing system left a three week rookie on the yard alone with Todd and the other 200 inmates on building 36. This meant that the rookie officer lacked the experience to determine the difference between sickness that can wait for medical to open the next day and distress that required the incident management system to be activated and get the on call nurse down there right away.

Third, this one is a shocker and goes far to display the incompetence of the DOCs internal affairs division known as the Criminal Investigations Unit. Santa Maria's Deputy Warden is Kim Currier. the initial investigator sent to gather evidence from Todds cell after the the rescue attempt was over was Jim Currier from CIU, Kim Curriers husband. Many of you may know that after Marcia Powell died at Perryville it was determined that the Captain and DW had to be treated as principles in the investigation and since then the DW of Powells yard never returned to service. So Jim Currier the internal affairs investigator had motive to conceal any implications of his wife's deliberate indifference to Todd's lack in health care. This was the biggest conflict of interest to hit the state since the private prison scandal of  Jan Brewers policy adviser and spokespersons Chuck Coughlin and Paul Sensemen.

The officers that found Todd the next day did their jobs they initiated ICS, called for medical and began CPR despite the fact that rigor mortise, whitening of the cornea and swelling of the tongue had long since taken place. but when medical staff did arrive, the nurses and institutional Dr. Palmer did not take over. Officers continued to do their job until Goodyear Fire took over.

The DOC calls this an open case but they know all too well by now every detail, the cause of death and the breakdown in getting Brenda treatment. But despite this they will not close this case because they will be outed for their conflict of interest with the Curriers if any further actions are taken. This is due to the fact that many officers who were there that day witnessed Mr Currier head up the investigation.

Butters37867
Butters37867

you know if we were to treat any human or animal like the state does, we would be punished and its too bad that arizona's main way of making money is orange, [ prison orange]. there is a problem in our country, prisons dont work they been around for 100's of years, and billions of dollars wasted, prisons are only for murders, rapers, and chomos. the state has its walls full of drug charges, and has that stop the drug use, nope, so it's not working

Mike Yevtuck pisses on 81
Mike Yevtuck pisses on 81

The USA hells angels obsession with Mike Yevtuck belies a certain unnatural fixation.The hells angels all want to be tough and hot looking like Mike yevtuck but the hells angels could never have the Body because they are to lazy and they will never have the heart to stand for what is rightous.

hells angels wanted to be Mike yevtuck but they were not born with the heart of a lion instead they were born with hearts of weasles, wood peckers,pigeons ,rats

USa hells angels Pee wee rounded out just a pig . Dave burgess child porn convict leader ,chuck Zito the great pretender, lofranco leader of NJ rat pack , George christie presidental wow talk about crazzy LOL , ray rat foakes etc are just freaks in a flock of freaks

I guess that is why hells angels will alway live in the shadow of Mike Yevtuck .

Mike Yevtuck is real . look at all these cowards of the hells angels pretening to be Mike Yevtuck God of the hells angels. its safe online hells angels will never talk like that in person to their God Mike.

Citizen for Freedom & Rights
Citizen for Freedom & Rights

Brenda Todd did not deserve a death sentence. This is a chilling story and situation. We are hearing they came and wisked Ms. Nieves back into Perryville Prison. That certainly raises red flags. Where is the oversight, transparency and accountability at the ADOC, MCAO and the legislators who promote their agenda?

justice4prisoners
justice4prisoners

This is just another case of a broken system where human life means nothing.Under the constitution the prisoners are to be getting health care .The reason this continues is because no one gets proscecuted.I bet if they start putting some charges on them they would think twice..The health care for inmates with life threatening desease and virus are being over looked.The dept of corrections is a breeding ground for hcv not mention tuberculosis untreated and not tested spreading it out into the communities upon release.It is a sick way to suffer some say .A place called "hell" The Department of Corrections.They treat our war time prisoners at quantonimo Bay better than they treat our prisoners.in Az.It is against all human and civil rights not give inadequate treatment to inmates.How many more have to die at the hands of the Industrialized prisons for profit?

mike yevtuck
mike yevtuck

Read this link . the ignorant comments here using My name are not me. I think its sonny barger another hells angel or a man that dates hells angels typing ranting to discredit my name. I stand proudly against the USA hells angels for the hells angels supporting their child porn leader convict Dave Burgess. I am also against the way hells angels continue to harm rape molest and murder women and children all over the USA with out any shame

http://blogs.phoenixnewtimes.c...

Crowdplezr1
Crowdplezr1

As a person whose fiance has just been taken into custody by AZDOC, this story frightens me. Would these same COs tell their children to go lay down & sleep it off if their own children or spouses were complaining of the same symptoms? You have to wonder. These are the things I was worried about before my fiance turned himself in to Coconino County to start his 4.5 year term of incarceration for an aggravated DUI. Prisoners like this are not hardened criminals and should not be treated as if they were a lower life form. These people have loved ones who love them and care about them very much.

As for the comment posted by Shar Pei, if she were out on the streets, she would have had the opportunity to seek treatment on her own. I believe that would have made all the difference. Even without Ahcccs she could have been treated!

OG
OG

Mike Yevtuck the God of the hells angels never said this . Mike yevtuck is not prejudice this comment was most likly some hells angel or A MAN THat dates hells angels since ALL THE usA hELLS ANGELS ARE COWARDS.

Lola
Lola

the nursing staff at perryville needs to be turned into the state board for not beig a patient advocate. they are not suppose to ignore pleas, let one of those so called 'caring ' prison nurses loose her license and the one in charge of them all, and see if they ignore health problems. apparently they cannot recognize when a person is in serious enough state of health to die. too busy telling them '; go filll out an paper" well some conditions are serious and life threatening, and apparently the staff does not know the difference. I hope they loose their license, and go to prison and when they need medical care someone is ignoring them. A person this age to die , and begging for help how sad. and she probably had a rough life all her life and die in prison . Her blood is on the HEALTH care hands. shame on them!!

Anon
Anon

Stephen, Thanks for the informative article on another female inmate dying a senseless death. You seem to be the only reporter in Arizona paying attention and informing the public. What? Are the others afraid they'll lose their jobs and perks?

Coz
Coz

So they killed another one, the body count just keeps climbing.

Mike Yevtuck
Mike Yevtuck

i think she was once new times writer james kings lover before she was sent to prison.

Mike Yevtuck
Mike Yevtuck

since when do people care if a convict dies in prison? thats news to me if they do care. i have learned in my life that no one really cares about nothing or nobody but themselves. so accept it and move on.

Audrey Dotson
Audrey Dotson

How sad, I know that it happens often in many jails and prisons. My daughter was denied treatment for MRSA at the Scioto County Ohio jail not once by twice, it took a call to a Judge for her to get treatment. Only then did she receive it when I reminded the Judges office that it was highly contagious and their own CO's may catch it. Their crimes are OK, their lies are OK because they are "the Man" .

Charles Ward
Charles Ward

Sounds like corrections attracts sociopaths, and I'm not referring to the inmates.

Concerned Citizen
Concerned Citizen

And Arizona wants to add 5,000 more prison beds? They can't handle the care of low risk inmates who should present no problem then why are they allowed to escalate the mass incarceration of Arizona's people. In for a DUI and left to die?? Wake up people, you are all at risk in Arizona's march to death....

Shar Pei
Shar Pei

The sad thing is, if Ms. Todd was out of custody, and was trying to get AHCSS to obtain healthcare, she would probably still be dead. Brewercare has the potential to kill as many people as Al Quaida.

Thereasa_3
Thereasa_3

i hope Brenda never gets forgotten.. Her biggest fear was not being heard!! NO ONE LISTENING!!! I am still appauld that she died from that very fear. I dont care to comment on the ignorant slimes that have mean heartless things to say, unfortunately someone they know will suffer. I miss Brenda and am sorry we lost touch.. Rememeber we as humans need human interaction and need more to be heard.. To all of her kids and family I am sorry you all are living with out her..

Gary
Gary

Mickeyshatzer,

I will be clear on who and what is to blame. It is the fault of a crappy medical system that does not properly triage. It is the fault of a cross level staffing system that allowed a rookie with only three weeks of experience to be supervising Todd and a hundred and ninety-nine other inmates on that yard alone.

Corruption? Yes. The investigator to gather evidence at the scene from the DOC's CIU division was the husband of the Deputy Warden who should have been held accountable for the deliberate indifference that occurred. A massive conflict of interest I reported to the Inspector General.

How do I know? I was there. I was the mail and property officer on Santa Maria. I helped to give Brenda CPR after the discovery of her death. I cannot express my condolence enough to your family. I gave up my career for retaliation from whistle blowing on this and one other major event.

Though I did not know Brenda the way that you do, I know she was a behaved and respectful inmate who deserved much better from this state than what was handed to her. I can guarantee if I was on graves that night and not in the mail room the next day things would have been very different. But had I been you and the family, I would not rest until ADOC Director Ryan removes the Criminal Investigations Unit Officer Jim Currier from his post, for investigating anything his wife could be a principle of. I would not rest until accountability to Kimberly Currier occurs. She is far more concerned over weeds and trash on her perimeter than she is for your friends and family she is charged to house.  I would demand of Director Ryan to rewrite policy to never let rookies post alone due to the cross level system.

Once again I am sorry for your loss.

Anon
Anon

p.s. - Stephen, please find out more about Ms. Nieves. The public needs to be informed about the reality of Arizona's criminal justice system and it's insatiable desire to "incarcerate" rather then rehabilitate -- destroying it's society rather then rebuilding and restoring it.

Erehn
Erehn

Lets not forget all the off site medical appt. that are done daily. The lack of funding to pay for these treatments and the fact they get better medical treatment than most uninsured people on the street. But hey you know everything don't you? The fact is you know nothing about the system. Only what a person who doesn't see results right away has to say.

OG
OG

Mike Yevtuck God of the hells angels did not write this Comment. possibly Sonny barger or some other coward ion the hells angel did. Sonny Barger is a 3 holed freak and that freak and his gang of misfits are not tough enough to fight a man those queens would probably use his name

Anon
Anon

mike, hope your mother, sister or friend doesn't end up there one day. pretty much women are discarded in aRizona.

Mistalee
Mistalee

I think you were Russell Pearce's lover before your asshole got too stretched out.

Caudle_verena
Caudle_verena

Maybe you don't care , because you have never lost a loved one in jail, or you haven't been there. But the things they do to our loved ones that have to go to jail is unspeakable, and the "MAN" get away with commiting crimes on our loved ones that have ended in jail.

OG
OG

http://www.causes.com/causes/1... clubs that rival the hells angels and everythings Sonny bargers freak gang seem to stand for in the USA.

Sonny famous as a 3 holed drama queen and leader of the child porn supporting hells angels gang made famous for the LaRGE PERCENT OF usa hELLS ANGELS IN THE NEWS DECADE AFTER dECADE FOR HARMING RAPING mOLESTING and murdering women and children all over the USA.

ExpertShot
ExpertShot

Since our founding fathers passed a constitution.

The eighth amendment to the US constitution prohibits the government from imposing cruel and unusual, excessive punishments.

You must really hate this country's form of government. I bet you puke in your mouth when you recite the pledge to support this nation's republic represented by our flag?

Dtbaker
Dtbaker

WE ARE NOT TALKING ABOUT SOMEONE WHO COMMITTED MURDER, NOT THAT IT WOULD MATTER. SHE WAS SERVING 2.5 YEARS. HER CRIES WERE IGNORED AND SHE DIED. YOUR STATEMENT WAS HEARTLESS AS IM SURE YOU ARE.

Concerned Citizne
Concerned Citizne

They are telling you, they could care less about the people and "life". Who are true predators in Arizona? Those on the inside or outside?

Concerned Citizen
Concerned Citizen

Charles, Hope you take action and write. But then many have been silenced in fear -- the tactic used to "control" the people. Bless the young Egyptian people who have flung open the doors to show us what fighting for freedom it!

"Where's the oversight, transparency and accountability? People need to write their County Attorneys, the state Attorney General, the Governor and most of all their legislators who are NOT looking out for the people but "feeding" their own agenda."

Concerned Citizen
Concerned Citizen

We are hearing Arizona received $50,000,000 Stimulus Funds and it's gone straight to Corrections? Who's managing that? Coughlin and CCA?

desertmedic193
desertmedic193

OK so a criminal welfare leeching wino died...BIG DEAL

Judi
Judi

I knew this woman and it is just horrible that correctional officers all across the united states turn the other way or think that the incarcerated are less than. Brenda had children and a story and made some bad choices in life. This is just horrible and I pray that someone is hel accountable.

Shiekster
Shiekster

In the margins it sais, Liked...It should say, Loved...

Erehn
Erehn

Your loved ones need to grow up.

Shiekster
Shiekster

"Someone needs to hit 'Mikey' up-side his frickin head, accept it and move on..."

desertmedic193
desertmedic193

2.5 for AGGRAVATED DUI, How would u feel if this drunk plowed into a friend or family member??. Good riddance.

Concerned Citizen
Concerned Citizen

Where's the oversight, transparency and accountability? People need to write their County Attorneys, the state Attorney General, the Governor and most of all their legislators who are NOT looking out for the people but "feeding" their own agenda.

Cutieskaterbrat
Cutieskaterbrat

Wow thats wrong !!!!!!!!! May god show you light or put you in her shoes, because everyone make mistakes . Your not perfect and you have drank and drove once in your life most likely you just think your better then any one else because you didn't get cought . Their be a day ill pray for it because people like you

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