CLAYTON, Mo. (KMOV.com) - For 39 days last fall, attorney Chelsea Merta says her client Adrianna Thurman sat in jail on a civil matter.
“How can a jail lose somebody in the system for so long,” Merta said.
Merta told News 4 Thurman was arrested after not showing up to a court for a hearing she was unaware of.
Thurman’s ex-boyfriend, Merta says, had been stalking her, demanding a paternity test for Thurman’s two kids. She says he is not the father.
“Who gets locked up on a paternity test issue first of all, but who gets ordered to take a paternity test for a man they know is not their child’s father,” said Merta.
In a lawsuit filed in April, Merta says the court system dropped the ball. When Thurman was arrested, the judge signed a document stating Thurman was not allowed to bond out of jail. The suit says Thurman was not told of her rights.
“Caseworkers would not speak with her,” said Merta.
Thurman was seven months pregnant at the time. The lawsuit says Thurman was treated rudely by the staff.
She also claims the jail would not let her see a doctor for weeks, even after complaining about back pain. She eventually saw a doctor and Merta claims a blood test was taken.
When Thurman finally spoke with a caseworker, she was told her case had “slipped through the cracks because staff was untrained and unaware of how to handle inmates on civil warrants”.
Documents say Thurman was eight months pregnant when she released from jail on November 9, but she went into labor prematurely.
At that point, Merta says it was discovered Thurman had stage 4 breast cancer that had spread to her spine.
“That blood panel test that the jail did should have revealed that to jail medical staff,” said Merta.
News 4 reached out to county leaders for a comment and is waiting to hear back.