Woman says her fiance died at the Harris County jail after suffering from COVID symptoms
HOUSTON - One woman says her fiancé was sick and struggling for nearly two weeks but when he asked for help, she claims he was not given enough medical attention at the Harris County Jail.
Rebecca Hatton is trying to pick up the pieces after learning that her 42-year-old fiance, Deon Peterson, died Tuesday while serving an assault sentence at the Harris County Jail.
Peterson’s cellmate was instructed to find a way to reach her.
"They said that he told them to tell me that he loves me, to please call me and tell me that he loves me. He had my picture in his hand and he told me, he said 'I'm gonna miss you.' Then he just fell on the floor and he died," said Hatton.
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For the last two weeks, Hatton says Peterson had complained about struggling with his health, exhibiting COVID-like symptoms including fatigue, shortness of breath, coughing, loss of taste and smell, and chest pain.
Hatton believes he was fully vaccinated but says he struggled because of his underlying conditions, including high blood pressure and diabetes.
"He knew he was going to die. He told me that like a week before. He knew something was more it was more serious and I don't think he wanted to tell me," Hatton said.
Worst of all, Hatton says she missed multiple calls from Peterson in the last two days before his death because her phone was broken.
She claims the medical staff failed to take urgent action to help him.
"They said that they were just taking their time coming to help him. I think they are neglected a lot when it comes to the medical issues that they have in jail. I think that they are neglected a lot. They have family and they have people that love them and you know, they're humans too," Hatton said.
Peterson’s cause of death is pending autopsy results from the medical examiner's office.
Authorities said privacy laws prevent them from releasing Peterson's vaccination status or diagnosed with COVID-19.
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Peterson's case is now under internal review by HCSO and will also be investigated by the Texas Rangers.
The Harris County Sheriff’s Office says since the start of the pandemic in March of 2020, eight people at the jail have died from COVID.
Inmates are screened for the virus when booked and quarantined for seven days before entering the jail’s general population.
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Vaccines are not required but are offered to the inmates.