• Forecast
  • News Tip
  • Categories
Temperature Precipitation
Estimated read time
1m 35s

Cellmate says jail staff failed to respond to sick prisoner

By Dave Detling 5:43 AM April 18, 2014

Woman dies after spending three days in jail

ANCHORAGE –

Rachelle Hamilton knew something was wrong when she first met her cellmate, Amanda Kernak.

“She was very thin, very ill,” Hamilton said. “She didn’t look healthy.”

Hamilton shared the 8-by-10-foot cell with the 24-year-old for roughly eight hours on April 8.

Hamilton said she was locked up in the holding cell because she missed a court-ordered anger management class.

“She was throwing up,” Hamilton said of her cellmate. “Trying to drink water, throw up, drink water, throw up, shaking really bad.”

She claims Kernak received no medical attention during her entire lockup.

“The whole eight hours I was there nobody came by there, nobody asked if she needed help, nothing,” Hamilton said.

Kernak was jailed because she was found driving under the influence. Court documents reveal she had a blood alcohol content of .325 at the time of her arrest, four times the legal limit.

Investigators said she was transferred to Hiland Mountain Correctional Center in Eagle River, where she was later found dead.

The Alaska Department of Corrections is looking into the death investigation.

As for claims that Kernak’s medical needs went unattended at the Anchorage jail, DOC spokeswoman Kaci Schroeder said that’s not true.

“She was not ignored,” Schroeder said. “I can tell you she was attended to.”

DOC would not go into further detail regarding a court-ordered detox.

Schroeder said there is a protocol jail staff adhere to following a booking: There’s a health checkup, and if a person is overintoxicated, the inmate is taken to an area hospital to sober up. They then return to jail.

State officials couldn’t confirm if Kernak received care at a hospital, citing inmates’ privacy.

Hamilton admits neither she nor Kernak asked for help. Still, she doesn’t recall guards checking on her cellmate.

“All I know is that she was in bad shape,” Hamilton said. “It breaks my heart knowing she died.”

Kernak’s death is still under investigation.

Latest Stories

  • Lifestyle

    This social media site ranked worst for mental health

    by CBS News on May 23, 12:25

    Instagram is the most detrimental social media platform to young people’s mental health, according to new research out of the U.K. Researchers from the Royal Society for Public Health in conjunction with the Young Health Movement published the report entitled #StatusOfMind, which looks at the positive and negative effects of social media on young people’s health […]

  • News

    Alaska judge expected to rule on recall effort

    by Associated Press on May 23, 11:44

    JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) – A state court judge in Anchorage is expected to decide Tuesday whether to allow a recall election to proceed against three Homer City Council members who sponsored a resolution on inclusivity after President Donald Trump’s election. Superior Court Judge Erin Marston told attorneys following arguments in the case Monday that he […]

  • Weather

    Widespread rain, wind in the forecast for southcentral Alaska

    by Rachael Penton on May 23, 10:55

    After some sunshine to start the week, widespread rain is in the forecast for southcentral Alaska through midweek. A strong front will begin approaching the western Kenai Peninsula and Cook Inlet area late-Tuesday, spreading rain throughout the entire region by early-Wednesday. The rain will be heavy at times, bringing as much as one inch of […]

  • Lifestyle

    Yukon subsistence fishermen needed to collect king salmon samples

    by Anna Rose MacArthur/KYUK on May 23, 8:06

    Over the past several years, fishery managers have placed extremely tight harvest restrictions on king salmon fishing in the Yukon River. The hope is that conservation will lead to larger runs. When managers make those decisions – telling fishermen when and where they can fish and what gear they can use – they need to […]

  • Politics

    GOP pleased over Trump budget blueprint

    by Associated Press on May 23, 7:02

    WASHINGTON (AP) – The Latest on President Donald Trump’s budget for the fiscal year beginning Oct. 1 (all times local): 10:35 a.m. Top GOP leaders in Congress are praising President Donald Trump’s budget plan for promising a balanced federal ledger over time. The budget relies on faster economic growth and steep cuts to programs for […]

  • Cougars make Bartlett feel at home with all-inclusive trip

    by Dave Goldman on May 22, 21:58

    They may compete on the field, but in the end, they’re one team. It showed more than ever on senior night. At a recent game while honoring their own, the Service High School girls soccer team also graciously extended a warm welcome to their opponent, Bartlett. But this was nothing new and is four years […]

  • News

    ‘Just get help’: Family of woman killed in boyfriend’s apparent suicide attempt speaks out

    by Daniella Rivera on May 22, 21:52

    It’s been 33 days since 22-year-old Brittany-Mae Haag’s family learned they’ll never see her again. “[Police said] that it was a shot from Victor Sibson, that he shot my daughter,” said Sheila Lopez, Haag’s mother. Lopez spent the majority of the month since her daughter died thinking Haag’s boyfriend of six years, 21-year-old Victor Sibson, killed her […]

  • APD investigating Government Hill shooting

    by KTVA Web Staff on May 22, 21:30

    Anchorage Police say they’re investigating shooting in the Government Hill area. Late-Monday evening, officers were called to the parking lot of a Subway at Hollywood and Vine where they were seen taking photographs of a yellow vehicle. KTVA’s reporter on scene says blood could be seen in the parking lot near the vehicle. After it […]