- Associated Press - Thursday, February 2, 2017

OGDEN, Utah (AP) - A Utah prosecutor has asked for the state to investigate how a 28-year-old woman died of blunt force injuries to her spleen the day after she was booked into a jail north of Salt Lake City.

Davis County Attorney Troy Rawlings called for the review Wednesday, hours after the release of an autopsy that found inmate Heather A. Miller died at a hospital with her spleen split nearly in half, the Ogden Standard-Examiner reported (https://bit.ly/2kVH1cQ ).

Rawlings said his office has examined a report on the death from Weber County investigators, and “the facts justify a review” by the Utah Attorney General’s Office to avoid an appearance of conflict of interest.

The report lists Miller’s death as an accident, saying the recent transplant from Reno, Nevada, reportedly fell from the top bunk in her Davis County Jail cell shortly before she was taken to a hospital where she died on Dec. 21.

Miller’s mother and her attorney questioned the report’s findings, and asked why jail staff did not note any injuries in an examination after the fall.

“The circumstances seem very, very suspicious,” said lawyer Rocky Anderson.

A spokeswoman for the jail, Davis County Sheriff’s Sgt. DeeAnn Servey, said the sheriff’s office welcomes a full investigation of the death and declined further comment.

The autopsy report stated that jail medical personal saw Miller after the fall, but did not record any obvious injuries.

The examination of her body later found lacerations on her spleen, including a split that almost tore through the organ, and blood pooled in her abdomen around it. She also had a cut on her chin and scrapes on her legs, the report said.

“I cannot even imagine that pain and a ruptured spleen being overlooked,” said her mother, Cynthia Farnham-Stella of Reno.

Miller had been arrested on suspicion of possessing methamphetamine and heroin during a traffic stop early the morning of Dec. 20.

The autopsy found traces of methamphetamine and marijuana in her body but said they did not contribute to her death.


Information from: Standard-Examiner, https://www.standard.net

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