Manuel Flores, 38, who had been an inmate at the Barry County jail for the last nine days, died Tuesday morning, September, 16, the day he was scheduled to appear in court. The cause of death has yet to be determined and his wife, Tonya Flores spoke with Show-Me Opinions about the events leading up to his death. Tonya said, "there have been rumors and false statements as to what happened to Manuel, I just want everyone to know the truth."She also stated, that while she was reluctant at first to speak up, her decision to not stay silent would hopefully keep this senseless tragedy from happening to someone else in the future.
Here is her story.
On Monday September, 15, shortly after Manuel had finished eating breakfast, he began feeling sick. His condition did not improve, and he began spitting up blood and passing out. He then told jail officials that he needed to be seen by a doctor. Manuel was given a medical release form to fill out and sign so that medical treatment could be administered. Some of the inmates had to help him fill out the paperwork which he signed, and according to his wife jail officials "denied". Witnesses told his wife that Manuel was given pepto bismol and tylenol and then told by the jailer to just, "shut up".
Tonya Flores said that after he was denied medical treatment, Manuel called her asking her to please find a way to help him. She proceeded to call the jail, then the sheriff, then the chief of police, five attempts in which she said were ignored. "He's got a touch of the flu, no big deal," she was told. She also stated that some of the inmates who had spoke out about getting him help were put in "the hole" for the night.
The next morning as Mrs. Flores and Manuel's lawyer sat in court waiting on her husband, Manuel died in the floor of his cell. She said it was an hour and a half later when she was told her husband had died.
Mrs. Flores said that statements which surfaced early Tuesday stating the autopsy had indicated the cause of death being from inflammation around the heart, is false. She received a call from the Barry County coroner Tuesday evening at 8:00 PM. It was during their conversation he explained to her that the results of the autopsy would take from 6 to 8 weeks. She said there is no way of knowing the cause of death until that time, and questions why someone would make such a statement.
While there are many unanswered questions surrounding this case, the questions Tonya Flores wants answers to is, why Manuel was denied his right to medical treatment ? Why did her husbands plea for help, hers, and those of other inmates, go unanswered ?
And the hardest question she'll have to answer... is to their son as to why his dad is never coming home.