Inmate Writes 'Chilling' Letter, Ends Up Dead

Latandra Ellington was 7 months from being released
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 8, 2014 6:30 PM CDT
Updated Oct 11, 2014 6:01 AM CDT
Inmate Writes 'Chilling' Letter, Ends Up Dead
Latandra Ellington's mugshot.   (YouTube)

The family of a Florida prison inmate who died after writing a "chilling letter" about life behind bars is seeking a federal investigation into her death, the Miami Herald reports. On Sept. 21, Latandra Ellington wrote her aunt about prison officer "Sgt. Q" who, she says, threatened to beat and murder her. Further, he would flip his badge around to obscure his name. Wrote Ellington, "Auntie, no one knows how to spell or say this man’s name. But he goes by Sgt. Q and he works the B Shift a.m." Her concerned aunt called the Lowell Correctional Institution on Sept. 30 and talked to an officer who said he would "look after" Ellington. The next day, the 36-year-old was dead. A private autopsy paid for by the family shows that Ellington—who had seven months left to serve—died of blunt-force trauma to her stomach consistent with kicking and punching, according to the family's lawyer.

That lawyer—Daryl Parks, a civil rights attorney whose firm represented the family of Trayvon Martin—on Monday asked Eric Holder to investigate. "It’s not right that these four children would lose their mom," Parks says. "While the trail is very fresh, we believe a federal investigation is warranted." The Florida Department of Law Enforcement says it's investigating, but already has nearly 200 unsolved prison death cases ongoing. Other Florida prison deaths include Randall Jordan-Aparo, who allegedly died of gassing in a confinement cell, and Darren Rainey, a prisoner with mental-health problems who died in a shower so hot it removed the skin from his body, the AP reports. The Herald called the single sergeant who records show has a name beginning with Q, but still hasn't heard back. (Read more on Florida's prison woes.)

Get the news faster.
Tap to install our app.
Install the Newser News app
in two easy steps:
1. Tap in your navigation bar.
2. Tap to Add to Home Screen.