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Mom sues Utah County for her son's death

Published March 13, 2012 11:21 am

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2012, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

A mother filed a civil rights lawsuit against Utah County and its sheriff's office claiming the agencies failed to adequately train and supervise their employees, resulting in the suicide of her son.

Michelle Jex said on March 9, 2011, her son Cory Jex was arrested at his Springville home and booked into the Utah County Jail on a 72-hour hold for drug and probation violations, according to the lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court on Thursday.

A probation officer, Reyna Cameron, called Michelle Jex and told her that she knew about her son's history with depression, anxiety and heroin use, stating that she needed to arrest him "for his own safety," the lawsuit states.

Even though the agent was aware of Cory Jex's history, including drug abuse and suicide attempts, the lawsuit states, Cameron did not point to any of those issues on the assessment form she filled out at the jail.

"Instead agent Cameron stated Cory's demeanor was 'upbeat' and that he was not under the influence of drugs," the lawsuit states.

Cory Jex was also evaluated using a "Suicide Prevention and 14-day Evaluation." He revealed his depression history and heroin use, the lawsuit states.

After the evaluation, however, Jex was not on suicide watch , the lawsuit states.

On March 10, 2011, about 12:27 p.m., Jex hanged himself in the shower of his cell. He was taken off life support on March 13, the lawsuit states.

Michelle Jex said Cameron and jail nurse Daniel Goodwin "acted with deliberate indifference" to the risk that her son would commit suicide.

Also listed as defendants in the complaint are Director Thomas Patterson with the Utah Department of Corrections, Regional Director Kirk Moncrief of the Adult Probation and Parole, and Utah County Sheriff Jim Tracy.

Jex is seeking an unspecified amount in damages for the loss of her son.