Two of the New Orleans jail's inmates died over the past week, with one inmate's family accusing authorities of inadequate medical care.
On Sunday morning, deputies found Evan Sullivan, 27, in his housing unit and alerted medical staff, the Orleans Parish Sheriff's Office said Monday in a news release. After an on-site medial evaluation, Sullivan was transported to an area hospital, where he later died.
Sullivan appeared to die of natural causes, the Sheriff's Office said.
Sullivan was housed at the jail's Temporary Detention Center, a separate facility from the main Orleans Justice Center, according to a law enforcement source. He was at least the fourth inmate to die in the custody of the Orleans Parish Sheriff's Office this year.
Later on Monday the Sheriff's Office confirmed that another inmate died last week after he was transferred from the jail to University Medical Center.
Narada Mealey, 32, of Harvey, was taken off life support on Thursday after suffering a cardiac arrest, according to his aunt Sanchez Allen.
The Sheriff's Office said Mealey had been booked into the New Orleans jail on Oct. 27. On Oct. 29, he was seen by medical personnel and subsequently transferred to the hospital, the Sheriff's Office said.
Allen gave a slightly different timeline, saying Mealey and family members made complaints to the jail on Oct. 30 about an ulcer. Those complaints were ignored until it was too late, she said. He was taken to the hospital on Oct. 30 and declared brain dead the next day, according to her. Allen said doctors told her the condition would not have been fatal if it was treated earlier.
"I believe that if they would have helped him and given medical attention he would not have died," Allen said. "He was a healthy young 32-year-old."
Allen said Mealey was the father of five children and his ailing mother's sole caregiver.
"My sister is not taking this well," she said.
She said that aside from an investigator in internal affairs she has heard little from the Sheriff's Office about the circumstances of her nephew's death.
The Sheriff's Office had not released information about Mealey's death to the public before receiving a request for information from the New Orleans Advocate on Monday. Its administration has been criticized in the past for failing to release news about inmate deaths to family members.
Phil Stelly, a Sheriff's Office spokesman, said that Mealey's death was not considered an in-custody death because he was released from official custody before he was declared dead.