Official: Woman was ill before death in custody

Details are emerging about the health condition of Raynette Turner, the woman who died while in police custody in Mount Vernon last Monday.



Authorities now say there were signs that she was sick before she died. A state official says Turner vomited in a holding area before being returned to her cell.



Turner, a 42-year-old mother of eight, was arrested Saturday on a shoplifting charge. She was held over the weekend and was hospitalized for several hours on Sunday after she felt ill.



Police say they brought Turner to a holding area Monday to await arraignment. It was there that she vomited and was returned to her jail cell. She was later found dead in the cell.



Deputy Police Commissioner Richard Burke insists that there was no foul play in the detainment of the 42-year-old woman. "She was caught shoplifting," he says. "She was brought here lawfully. No one abused her or anything."



There were cameras trained on Turner's cell and officials say guards also patrolled the area every 15 minutes.



An autopsy was inconclusive. Authorities are awaiting toxicology and biology reports that may shed more light on the case.



Turner's family says she suffered from hypertension while having bariatric surgery last year.



The state attorney general's office is reviewing Turner's death. Mount Vernon Mayor Ernie Davis says that he is putting together a team to investigate Turner's death as well.



Turner was the fifth African-American woman in the country to die in police custody in one month, according to officials.



Her death comes on the heels of a state report that said Rashad McNulty, of Yonkers, died in 2013 at Westchester Medical Center after receiving insufficient help from two nurses at the Westchester County Jail. The nurses had cleared McNulty to return to his holding cell, where he collapsed. He died after being taken to hospital.


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