Florida mom says newborn died after officers ignored her during jail delivery

A $10,000 GoFundMe effort has been established to help support mourning mother Erica Thompson.

A Florida woman is demanding justice after her newborn baby died shortly after the infant was delivered in a jail cell. 

Erica Thompson was arrested on Monday, Aug. 9, on felony violation of probation and failure to appear on a traffic charge. She was six months pregnant when she was placed in the Alachua County Jail. Thompson told CBS 4 that she told an attending nurse at the time she was having contractions. 

“I’m steady like, ‘I’m going to have my baby.’ I’m screaming. ‘I’m going to have my baby, please get me out of here. I feel like I’m going to have my baby,'” Thompson said. “When I said that, I felt like all bets were off, everybody needs to be coming in here trying to check on me and see what’s going on. I’ve had kids before, so I know exactly how it feels. I’m about to have my baby, I’m not just talking.” 

A $10,000 GoFundMe effort has been established to support mourning mother Erica Thompson (above), who also goes by the name Heaven, created by Florida Prisonser Solidarity. (CBS 4)

She told the news outlet she gave birth to a girl in her jail cell alone last Monday. She said a nurse cut and clamped her umbilical cord, and she was then transported to a local hospital. 

There, at the hospital, Thompson said, doctors provided no aid to the premature newborn.

“They didn’t even put her in an incubator,” she contended. “They just had her in the crib. So they wrapped her up, and they told me she’s too small. We don’t think we can save her, we’re not going to be able to do anything.” 

Thompson said it was hours later that her daughter died. “I basically held my baby all night,” she tearfully asserted, “until she died, until she turned blue.” 

According to the Alachua County Sheriff’s Office, there is an ongoing investigation into the death of the child.

A spokesperson, Kaley Behl, said, “Our entire agency is very saddened by what Ms. Thompson had to experience. We absolutely realize how traumatizing and heartbreaking it is to lose a child, and we are deeply saddened, and we grieve with her in the loss of her child. We are confident that the investigation will be completed in its entirety, and it will be given a full review, and if there are any concerns they will be addressed.” 

Civil rights attorney Benjamin Crump tweeted his support of Thompson, writing, “Erica Thompson gave birth ALONE in an Alachua County Jail cell after staff members ignored her screams for help! By the time EMS arrived, it was too late & unfortunately, her daughter later died at the hospital. This tragedy should have NEVER happened!” 

Adam Christensen, a Florida candidate for the U.S. House of Representatives, penned a thread about the story on Twitter, where he opined, “1. Arresting an extremely pregnant woman and putting her in jail because she is poor (couldn’t afford bail) shows the extreme rot of the system. 2. The only way that this could happen is if staff at the jail are untrained and do not consider their inmates to be human.” 

A protest occurred at the jail last week. 

“I’m so hurt,” Thompson said, “and just still in disbelief that I had to have my child in jail in my bunk all by myself.”

A $10,000 GoFundMe effort, created by Florida Prisoner Solidarity, has been established to support the young woman, who also goes by the name Heaven.

“Nothing can make up for baby Ava being murdered by NEGLECT and ABUSE at the Alachua County Jail,” it reads, “but Heaven needs our support right now.”

The organizer seeks donations to help pay for Thompson’s food, transportation and postpartum care while “the community will need to wrap our arms around Heaven and hold her tight while she tries to heal physically, emotionally, and spiritual from this loss.”

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