A Michigan woman died in jail after eating stuffing from cell's mattress. Her son is suing

Andrea Perez Balderrama

After Andrea Laughlin got into a fight in April 2017, she was arrested and booked into the Southgate city jail.

By the next morning, she was dead — suffocated after cutting open the mattress in her cell and purposely ingesting the stuffing until she stopped breathing.

Now her son, Skylir Kosiorek, is suing the city of Southgate, acting as Laughlin's estate representative.

He is claiming $75,000 in compensation for the damage the death caused him and his family. Kosiorek said he was suing because jail guards did not properly monitor Laughlin's cell and failed to follow booking procedures. 

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The city of Southgate declined to comment directly on the lawsuit, but says it empathizes with the family and stands by the actions of its employees.

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"We are confident that the members of our Police Department acted properly the evening of April 20, 2017," city Administrator Dustin Lent said in a statement to the Free Press.

Here's what happened, according to the lawsuit filed late in July in the U.S. District Court in Detroit:

The night of her death, when she was placed in a solitary jail cell without supervision or an evaluation, Kosiorek said his mother was in clear need for medical attention.

She was hurt from a fight that led to her arrest and had a previous history of bipolar disorder and substance abuse, something Kosiorek said the police would've learned if they had followed procedure.

They would've known she was a danger to herself, the lawsuit said.

"I felt like my mom could've still been here if (city officials) were more aware of the situation," he said. "She came in unstable. I just don't find it fair how she was treated."

Nevertheless, Kosiorek's mother was left unattended and attempted suicide.

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"She was alive but there was no brain activity," Kosiorek said. "Ethically, she was dead in the jail because the only thing functioning (after she was taken to the hospital) was her heart."

With his father's death years back and his mother's 2017 suicide, Kosiorek has struggled to bear the grief.

He says it is important to him that the city of Southgate and the officials who were there the night of his mother's death be held accountable.

"I want to make this well know that some people just don't give any cares," he said. "I don't care about the money. I just care about the jail admitting that they are wrong."

The five-count lawsuit alleges that the City of Southgate and its employees violated several of Kosiorek's mother's federal civil rights.

It says Southgate city officials imposed cruel and unusual punishment and deprived her of life and liberty without due process.

Follow Andrea Perez Balderrama on Twitter: @aperezbald

This article originally appeared on Detroit Free Press: Michigan woman dies after eating jail mattress. Now her son is suing