This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2017, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.
The Utah attorney general's office announced Friday that it would not consider charges in the December death of an inmate whose spleen was nearly cut in half from blunt force trauma, declaring that it did not find any criminal conduct.
Heather Miller died Dec. 21, a night after police arrested her and took her to Davis County jail. Police say they found a bag of heroin in her purse and a meth pipe in her bra.
The medical examiner's report said Miller suffered from blunt force trauma, "sustained when she reportedly fell from the upper bunk of her cell while attempting to climb down."
Her spleen was nearly severed, the report said, and she had severe internal bleeding as a result. Aside from a cut on her chin, Miller otherwise appeared to be in good health at the time of her death. The medical examiner called her death accidental.
Davis County Attorney Troy Rawlings had asked for Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes' office to investigate to avoid conflicts of interest.
Miller's mother, Cindy Farnham-Stella, said Friday night that she was "devastated" when she heard the news and had been crying all day.
The officers she believes are responsible for Miller's death aren't being held accountable, Farnham-Stella said. She and her attorney Rocky Anderson said they are waiting to receive records of the investigation to see "why there wasn't a more reasonable response."
Farnham-Stella said she was not convinced that a fall from a bunk could have led to the kind of injury that Miller suffered before death.
"I can't tell you how I will pursue it, but I will pursue it further," Farnham-Stella said of her daughter's case, adding that she hopes she can represent her daughter "in the best way possible" and ensure that "this doesn't happen to anyone else."
Twitter: @tiffany_mf, @mnoblenews