Dozens rally at Jackson County Courthouse in memory of Ta’Neasha Chappell

Chappell, 23, died after she fell ill in the Jackson County jail.
Published: Nov. 16, 2021 at 3:38 PM EST|Updated: Nov. 16, 2021 at 6:59 PM EST
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BROWNSTOWN, Ind. (WAVE) - Nearly 100 people drove to the Jackson County courthouse to rally in memory of a 23-year-old Louisville woman who died while in custody.

Ta’Neasha Chappell died in July after being held in the Jackson County jail for more than a month. Chappell was booked on May 26 after she was accused of shoplifting and fleeing from police. On Tuesday, her family and loved ones called for justice and answers.

“We’re out here to get answers,” Chappell’s mother Lavita McClain said. “They don’t want to give them to us, so we’re going to try and get them.”

McClain and her family were joined by dozens of others, including members of Until Freedom, an activist group based out of New York. Supporters showed up in cars and buses to the steps of the courthouse in Brownstown. They held fists in the air and as they demand transparency from law enforcement, including information about how Chappell died while in custody.

Chappell’s sister, Ronesha Murrell, said Chappell called and told her she feared for her life, said a noose was put on her bed, and she was having trouble with the staff and other inmates.

On July 15, reports show Chappell started to feel nauseous, had a headache and was vomiting. Medical records obtained by WAVE 3 News Troubleshooters show jail staff did not call an ambulance until 3 p.m. the following day.

Chappell died on July 16.

McClain said after almost five months, the jail is still holding back answers.

“Release the footage,” McClain said. “That’s the biggest call, release the footage. So I can see for myself what happened to my daughter.”

Chappell’s 10-year-old daughter, Nevaeh Chappell, was also in attendance. She said watching others protest in her mother’s name inspired her to come out too.

“She was just her,” Nevaeh said about her mother. “She did things that other people wouldn’t have the courage to do. She would make other people smile.”

Medical results also showed doctors were concerned Chappell could’ve been poisoned by ethylene glycol or methanol, two chemicals found in household products like antifreeze. The National Institutes of Health listed the chemicals as extremely toxic to humans.

“And this family since day one has been decent,” family attorney Sam Aguiar said. “All they’ve asked for is answers. Answers. That’s all they want are answers. And here they are four months later, with no answers.”

McClain said her family still does not have Chappell’s death certificate or official cause of death.

Chappell’s family and attorney said she suffered for nearly 24 hours before she died.

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