Teenage inmate drank cleaning supplies, was hospitalized days before suicide attempt

Inmate returned to general population after incident

SAN ANTONIO – A 19-year-old inmate with a demonstrated history of mental health issues found hanging in her cell Saturday had previously been hospitalized during her 22-day stay at the Bexar County Jail after drinking liquid cleaning supplies, the Sheriff's Office confirmed to the KSAT 12 Defenders Wednesday.

Despite the attempt to harm herself, the Sheriff's Office said the teenager was not on suicide watch when she was found in her cell around 11 p.m. Saturday.

RELATED: 19-year-old inmate on life support after suicide attempt at Bexar County Jail 

The cleaning supply incident, which happened July 18, is the latest instance uncovered by the Defenders that shows the teenager acted on or voiced suicidal ideations while in custody. 

When she was arrested July 6, the 19-year-old told jail officials she would kill herself "the first chance she got," a report states. Authorities also noted in the report that she had just been released from a psychiatric facility.

BCSO officials said earlier this week that the teen was not on "suicide watch," which requires jail staff to make face-to-face cell checks on the inmate every 15 minutes.

Instead, citing a history of disruptive behavior during her stay at the jail, officials had the teen inmate in solitary confinement, which requires jail staff to conduct cell checks every 30 minutes.

The Bexar County Sheriff's Office said Monday that the agency followed medical advice from doctors caring the 19-year-old.

RELATED: Inmate, 19, said she'd kill herself 'first chance she got.' But wasn't on suicide watch. Why? 

"This inmate was provided mental health and medical treatment during her incarceration," said Johnny Garcia, a spokesman for the Sheriff's Office. "In each instance where this inmate displayed suicidal ideations, jail staff involved University Health Systems staff and adhered to the recommendations of their doctors."

The teenager was arrested after authorities said she made a terroristic threat against her aunt's home where she stayed, Bexar County District Attorney Joe Gonzales said.

Online court records show the teen was held in jail for more than three weeks on an $800 bond.

At last check, she remains on life support at Downtown Baptist Hospital.

About the Authors:

Emmy-award winning reporter Dillon Collier joined the KSAT 12 Defenders in 2016. Dillon's investigative stories air weeknights on the Nightbeat. He provides restaurant health reports for KSAT's "Behind the Kitchen Door." Dillon is a two-time Houston Press Club Journalist of the Year and a Texas Associated Press Broadcasters Reporter of the Year.

Tim Gerber is an investigative reporter and anchor on the KSAT Defenders team.