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Jeffco Jail Medical Staff Repeatedly Informed Of Sick Inmate Before Death

GOLDEN, Colo. (CBS4) - CBS4 has learned that Jefferson County sheriff's medical staff were notified multiple times that a female inmate was extremely sick two hours before she died, but she never received medical attention in the hours before her death.

Jennifer Lobato, 38, was arrested Sunday for shoplifting, false reporting in Lakewood and several other minor crimes and was booked into the Jefferson County jail. Multiple sources familiar with the situation say that at approximately 5 p.m. Monday, Lobato's cellmate, Crystal Chavez, told jail deputies Lobato was vomiting in their cell and needed medical assistance.

Jennifer Lobato
Jennifer Lobato (credit: Denver Police)

Jacki Kelley, a spokesperson for the Jefferson County Sheriff's Department, told CBS4 Thursday that deputies shared that information with jail medical staff.

"On at least two occasions, there is no question our deputies contacted the medical staff and related her medical status," said Kelley. "Her medical status and condition was reported to medical personnel."

But medical staff members did not deem the situation serious enough to respond to Lobato's cell and said they would see Lobato later in the evening during their normal rounds.

At approximately 7:15 p.m., Lobato stopped breathing. At least one Jefferson County Sheriff's deputy performed CPR on Lobato and attempted to revive her. It was only then that jail medical staff responded to Lobato's cell.

"We are building our own timeline," said Kelley, who said jail deputies and nurses are being interviewed about what happened Monday night in an attempt to find out why Lobato did not receive medical care for at least two hours.

Jennifer Lobato (credit: Facebook)
Jennifer Lobato (credit: Facebook)

David Lane, an attorney for the Lobato family, said Jennifer Lobato had been on heroin and was suffering drug withdrawals and should have received immediate medical care. "I am preparing a lawsuit," said Lane. "They showed deliberate indifference to her medical condition."

Kelley told CBS4 that an autopsy performed on Lobato was inconclusive and provided no clear cause of death. She said toxicology results would take six to eight weeks and might provide more clues as to why Jennifer Lobato passed away. Kelley added that when Lobato was admitted to the jail Sunday afternoon, she denied using controlled substances or having withdrawal symptoms.

"None of this was disclosed," said Kelley.

Medical services at the Jefferson County jail are provided by Correct Care Solutions. CBS4 contacted Correct Care Solutions for comment on the Lobato case and received the following response:

"In response to your inquiry regarding Ms. Lobato, we must respectfully decline any comment at this time as we are actively reviewing the circumstances of this situation in coordination with the Jefferson County Sheriff's Department. We consider this a top priority.

We would also like to take this opportunity to express our deepest sympathies to the Lobato family."

CBS4 Investigator Brian Maass has been with the station more than 30 years uncovering waste, fraud and corruption. Follow him on Twitter @Briancbs4.

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