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Family seeks justice after woman dies in Cooper County Jail

This image shows a close-up of a key lock in a beige jail cell.
Grant Durr
A Jefferson City family seeks justice after Brooke Bailey died in the Cooper County Jail.

A Jefferson City family is calling for justice after the death of an inmate in the Cooper County Jail.

Brooke Bailey, 33, was being held in the Cooper County Jail when she died in her cell on Friday, Oct. 27, according to a Facebook post from the Cooper County Sheriff's Office.

Brooke Bailey's mother, Stacey Bailey, says her daughter had been charged with tampering with a motor vehicle in 2021 and had a hearing on Oct. 16.

During the hearing, the court ordered Brooke Bailey to be held in the Department of Mental Health, which was full at the time, so the court ordered Brooke to be held at the jail, according to her mother.

On Monday, Brooke Bailey's family protested outside of the Cooper County Courthouse to raise awareness for mental health and medical attention in jails.

"We're here today to be the voice that she wasn't," said Shelley Bailey, Brooke's aunt. "She was never heard in here, so we want our voices to be heard for her."

Stacey Bailey said her daughter called her on Oct. 25, and claimed that jail staff wouldn't listen when she told then that she "couldn't breathe" and that she was "going to die." Stacey Bailey said she got a call two days later from the coroner about her daughter's death.

Brooke Bailey was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes before she was arrested, her mom said. When Brooke Bailey was in the jail, her mom said she called and told the staff to check her daughter's blood sugar.

Diabetes ketoacidosis (DKA) comes with having diabetes and not getting the medication that is needed. DKA is a "serious complication of diabetes that can be life-threatening," according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It develops when a body doesn't have enough insulin to allow blood sugar into cells to use as energy.

"Nobody wants to wake up one day and be told that their mom or their daughter is dead in a jail cell," said Paige Bailey-Folker, Brooke's daughter.

Bailey-Folker says her mom's death has caused the Bailey family unwarranted pain.

"She was treated very wrongfully and should've never been treated like that," Bailey-Folker said. "Nobody should ever be treated like that. The pain that this has caused our family, I want that to be known that this should never happen to anyone's family. Nobody deserves this."

Bailey-Folker says she hopes to reach more of the community with their protesting and wants more people to recognize the importance of taking cries for help seriously.

"I'm hoping to take it [the protest] all the way," she said. "We have so many good people around Cooper County that have stood in protest with us, because they believe that it was wrong as well. And I'm prepared to do anything and everything for this to go everywhere because it needs to be heard."

KOMU 8 reached out to the Cooper County Prosecutor's Office to confirm Bailey's original charge and its dismissal but was told the prosecutor was out of office on Monday.

KOMU 8 News also reached out to the Cooper County Sheriff's Office for a statement or any new information regarding the case. The sheriff's office said it could not comment because its investigation is ongoing. The Pettis County Sheriff's Office is also investigating at the Cooper County Sheriff's Office's request. A spokesperson for Pettis County said their investigation is ongoing.

The Cooper County Sheriff's Office previously said an autopsy for Brooke Bailey had been scheduled. KOMU 8 has reached out to the Cooper County coroner for any results.

KOMU 8 is a full-powered NBC affiliate operating as an independent commercial property. As such, KOMU 8 is the only major network affiliate in the United States that acts as a university-owned commercial television station utilizing its newsroom as a working lab for students.
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