Family launches investigation into woman's in-custody death

Witnesses say requests for help went ignored, according to attorney

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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Family members of a Jacksonville woman who died while in police custody have hired an attorney and begun an independent investigation into her death.

Lina Odom was in custody of the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office for six days, according to the family's attorney, Randy Reep. By day five, witnesses said, Odom was asking for medical help, and those witnesses said she was ignored until it was too late.

The Sheriff's Office said Odom died after she started showing symptoms of medical problems, but Odom's family and Reep believe there is more to the story.

"We have statements from people that purport to be witnesses that indicate that Ms. Lina Odom was indicating that she was under distress for a longer period of time than what was probably reasonable for the response that JSO had," Reep said.

Reep said it was too soon to place blame on the Sheriff's Office, but if evidence of neglect is found, her family could file a civil lawsuit.

"Let me be clear. She was in jail for a number of days before she passed," Reep said. "This isn't someone who came into jail last night and passed away."

According to JSO records, Odom was arrested on the night of April 22 on a prostitution charge. Reep said anyone who focuses on the crime is missing the point of the investigation.

"There will be people that will disparage Ms. Odom's history," Reep said.

The Sheriff's Office has said no foul play is suspected in Odom's death.

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