Jan. 11—The man responsible for running the Cleveland County Detention Center, where two women died last month, resigned Wednesday, according to the Cleveland County Sheriff's Office.
Deputy Chief Scott Sedbrook submitted his resignation letter Wednesday morning. Major Dennis Hansen, a jail administrator in charge of support services, also resigned this week. Hansen submitted his letter Monday, according to the sheriff's office.
"Those were accepted by the Sheriff and will take effect immediately," CCSO spokesman Hunter McKee said in an email. "Undersheriff Marcus Williams will be in charge of jail operations until a new chief is appointed."
Asked if the resignations were offered or requested, McKee said the letters "did not state a reason." He did not respond when asked in writing if the resignations were related to the recent deaths.
Shannon Hanchett, a 38-year-old Norman business owner, was found dead in her jail cell on Dec. 8, nearly two weeks after being arrested.
She baked cookies in a tiny cottage on the corner of Main Street and Webster Avenue.
Hanchett was arrested by Norman police Nov. 26 on complaints of making a false 911 call and obstructing an officer.
Friends told The Transcript she called police on the night she was arrested because she was having a "mental health crisis."
She was scheduled to have a mental health evaluation the morning she died, a detention facility incident report obtained by The Transcript shows.
Noble resident Kathryn Milano, 66, died Dec. 20 after suffering a medical emergency "related to pre-existing medical conditions," the Cleveland County Sheriff's Office reported Dec. 29.
"She was transported to a local hospital, where she was admitted," the sheriff's office reported. "Unfortunately, she passed away later that day."
Stacy Shelton, a Milano family spokesperson disputed the report, citing medical records, including EMS reports, from the day of her death.
"Here's our problem with the jail's statement ... she did not die at the hospital, she was dead for 40 minutes before she got to the hospital," Stacy Shelton recently told The Transcript.
"I don't believe they are responsible for her death. What I am saying is the statement 'she died of a pre-existing condition' is incorrect."
Milano, a grandmother of three, died of a massive brain hemorrhage, not "a pre-existing condition," Shelton said.
Milano's family has said her incarceration "was not handled properly" and she should have received "proper mental and physical health care" while in custody.
In recent days, friends and family of both women protested the deaths at public gatherings and meetings, including a Cleveland County Commissioners meeting Monday and a Norman City Council meeting Tuesday.
Kate Bierman, a former council member and friend of Hanchett, helped organize the protests.
"Though we do not know if these resignations are in any way connected to the recent deaths at the jail, this is an opportunity to bring in an administrator who believes, as we do, that expansion of carceral services under the guise of "behavioral health" is not the answer to our community's mental health needs," Bierman told The Transcript.
"We ask our elected officials who oversee the jail (the sheriff and county commissioners) to choose wisely."