|Polk County Enterprise - Local News
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Answers wanted on two jail deaths
BY BRIAN BESCH
LIVINGSTON -- Don Wilson Glenn is searching for answers. He has two relatives that have died in the past two years and each were inmates at the Polk County Jail. Glenn said his family has yet to receive an adequate amount of information on why two men in their thirties passed while incarcerated. "When my nephew, Nathan Demon King, died, there is nothing the jail sent to (the Enterprise)," Glenn said. "There was nothing whatsoever on him. It is almost two years that we have been without him and we are still looking for answers for what happened. We have still not gotten a full report from any agency regarding what happened. It breaks our heart that with so many of our representatives that wanted to help us, we've gotten rejection after rejection. Everyone said that they see this as neglect and Feb. 22 will be two years." King, 37 at the time of his death, was a second cousin to Antwaun Tremaine Bogany, who died 19 months later. Both King and Bogany were descendants of the Apalachicola band of Creek Indians. Bogany, 32, was pronounced dead at a Kingwood hospital after reportedly becoming ill the previous night as an inmate at the Polk County Jail. According to initial reports from Polk County Sheriff Kenneth Hammack, the incident began Thursday night when Bogany started to complain about an illness shortly after participating in physical activity. Bogany was first transported to CHI St. Luke's Memorial in Livingston Friday morning, then later to a Kingwood hospital where he was pronounced dead. According to Bogany's mother, Judy, jail officials did not give sufficient information over the phone on her son's condition until one employee referred to the illness as "possible dehydration." Judy asked that her son immediately be sent to an emergency room, but the request was denied and he was kept under observation at the jail. Bogany was later transported to CHI St. Luke's the next morning around the time Judy arrived at the jail to check on his condition. Judy said she was shocked to find her son already in critical condition at the Livingston hospital. "At this point, we felt that we had another death of a member of our tribe and we don't understand," Glenn said. "It is the same jail, the same facilities, and the same handlers." Days after a report of the Polk County Jail failing a state inspection was released in 2015, King died from what was believed to be tuberculosis. "We're looking at a chronic problem and all of this evidence with them failing their state inspections has led to not only my nephew's death, but also his cousin's death," Glenn said. "We don't even have answers that these problems were corrected. On my nephew's death, his death certificate says pulmonary tuberculosis. We don't even have a report from the health department stating that they have gone into that facility to clean. They are allowing people to walk out of that jail and they are allowing their own officers to be exposed to something like that. "(King's) mother has reached out to organizations and we are excited that LULAC (League of United Latin American Citizens) is saying that this is not only a problem for your family, but a problem in Polk County, in Texas, and something that the world should know about. Glenn, who also serves as the Polk County Democratic Chair, said King did not have tuberculosis (TB) until he was in the Polk County Jail. "He did pick it up there and there was no other explanation," Glenn explained. "I have worked for corrections, and when every inmate comes into the jail through processing, they have to be tested for TB because it is one of the largest spreading diseases within a confined area. If he did not test for it whenever he got there, he did not have it. Even if it went undetected, you don't see a beautiful 200-pound young man dwindled down to 98 pounds and not think something is wrong. The Texas Rangers were involved but they still have not given us a report yet. Our native belief is that we know these questions haven't been answered and that he is very restless because of that. "Senator Rodney Ellis contacted the jail commissioner and said that our family had given them letters at the beginning and that they had a 10-day period to answer and that they haven't answered. Finally, they sent us a letter saying they lost the letter in the mail. They had our address and they had our phone number. They finally sent us a report saying that Polk County has not had an inmate die of tuberculosis during that period of time. It disturbs me that our local, state and federal government can protect endangered species — even algae — and cannot protect the last of our sovereign people." Both cases have been turned over to the Texas Rangers, according to Glenn. Multiple attempts by the Enterprise to contact the Texas Rangers to this point have been unsuccessful. King suffered from mental issues that Glenn said law enforcement was aware of. Glenn said he does not know if the issues played a part in him remaining incarcerated for as long as he was, though he said it seemed odd that an inmate would be held for nearly seven months on "obstruction or retaliation and criminal trespassing" charges. Rosemary Covalt, a Polk County representative for League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC), said her job will be finding answers to questions that two mothers have had for far too long. "At this point, it is really just getting the questions answered as to why both of (Glenn's) family members were incarcerated and ended up leaving there either dead or dying," Covalt said. "I think that is going to be the first goal. "The law is that you are incarcerated until you have your time in front of a jury of your peers to find you innocent or guilty. That is a due process. These two never got that chance and you were supposed to leave there alive so a jury can make that decision. With negligence, this can happen to anybody." Glenn says the families have been meeting on and off with different representatives and are also concerned with other mothers who have endured similar situations. They are planning to come together as a force to work toward acquiring the information they desire.