SIOUX FALLS, S.D. – A 24-year-old woman whose family has questioned whether she received adequate medical attention before she was found unresponsive in a South Dakota jail cell died of a meth overdose, the state's attorney general announced Thursday.
Attorney General Marty Jackley said an autopsy on Sarah Circle Bear, of Claremont, found acute methamphetamine and amphetamine toxicity in her blood.
Circle Bear was being held in the Brown County Jail on a bond violation following a minor car accident when she was found unresponsive in her cell July 5. She died later the same day at a local hospital. Jackley said the autopsy showed no evidence of injury that would have caused or contributed to her death.
A spokeswoman for Jackley said autopsy reports in South Dakota are not available to the public.
Circle Bear's relatives said they were surprised by the findings and said they didn't know her to use methamphetamine.
Her father, Terrance Circle Bear, said Thursday that a fellow inmate told him his daughter was suffering and repeatedly asked jail employees for help but was ignored. He declined to identify the inmate but said he is working with an attorney to examine his daughter's case.
"I'm getting justice for a native girl that was crying and they didn't want to help her," he said.
Brown County Sheriff Mark Milbrandt said he couldn't comment on the situation while the attorney general's office continues to investigate.
Jackley's office said it is trying to find out where the methamphetamine came from. The attorney general said he was asked by the Brown County Sheriff's Office to review Circle Bear's death and said this office will release more information once they finish their investigation.