A Killeen woman whose case was set to go to trial soon has died from COVID-19, after being in the Bell County Jail for more than two years.
Indrel Green, who turned 48 years old last month, passed away on Sept. 1, after being admitted to a local hospital for treatment of severe COVID-19, her family members said. Green had been an inmate at the Bell County Jail since her arrest on a robbery charge in 2019.
“This has been a tough, tough week and one day,” Shawnea Ockelberry, one of Green’s five children, told the Herald on Thursday.
Green’s kids range in age from 23 to 32.
“We’re all young and this is all very new to us,” she said.
A fundraiser is set for Saturday to help pay funeral expenses, in addition to a GoFundMe page.
“We’ll always remember her as a loving, caring and giving person,” Ockelberry said.
‘I blame the jail’
Ockelberry said that her mother had been battling COVID-19 in the jail for days before finally being taken on Aug. 16 to the hospital, where she was placed on a ventilator. On Aug. 18, the family was notified by the county that Green had been approved for a personal recognizance bond, but by that time she already was in the hospital.
“I blame the jail,” Ockelberry said. “They need to be testing everyone, and if they quarantine inmates who have symptoms that would possibly cut down on COVID-19 in the jail. It can’t be stopped 100%, but they should be doing more. It’s their job to protect the people who are in jail, regardless of what they’re accused of because they’re human beings and they have rights.”
Ockelberry said that her mother was showing signs of illness but was not treated.
“She sat in that cell for four days, struggling to breathe,” she said. “We were told by a friend of hers (in jail) that she hadn’t been eating or interacting with anyone, just sleeping and showering at times. She was neglected. She was helpless. When they finally rendered aid, it was so severe that she had to be rushed to the hospital.”
Ockelberry said that jail staff members did not notify the family about her mother’s admission to the hospital, but that a person from the county’s PR bond office called on Aug. 18 to say she had been granted a PR bond.
After the call from the PR bond office, “I started calling around to find out where she was,” Ockelberry said. “Scott and White was able to release her information (after Aug. 18, when Green technically was released on bond), and then we had to continue to call Bell County to find out what happened.”
She said that an inmate told her brother that Green had been taken to the hospital.
“The jail didn’t contact us when she was rushed to the hospital,” she said. “The family should have been notified at that moment. The hospital could not notify us because she was still an inmate.”
Green had received her first dose of a vaccine, but not the second, her daughter said.
“I believe that had a lot to do with what happened to her,” Ockelberry said.
Green and a co-defendant were indicted on Aug. 7, 2019, on a robbery charge after Killeen police said that they robbed a man of his wallet, phone and two packs of cigarettes during an alleged incident at a convenience store on April 18, 2019, according to an arrest affidavit.
Bell County court records show that Green had pleaded not guilty and that a jury trial date was scheduled for Oct. 4, in the 264th Judicial District Court.
A jail administrator told the Herald in a written statement on Thursday that vaccines are available to all inmates and staff members and that all symptomatic inmates and new inmates are tested for COVID-19.
“During the last month we have had positive cases and those numbers fluctuate, (but) we have stayed around 2 percent of the total population,” said Maj. Shane Sowell, Bell County Jail administrator. “Those inmates known to have been exposed are quarantined as recommended by the Local Health Department.”
He said that masks are offered to inmates and inmate housing areas are disinfected twice a day.
“All staff members are mandated to wear mask inside the secure area of the jail,” Sowell said. “COVID-19 protocols are in place to try and reduce the spread of COVID-19 within the jail.”