• 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

  • News

    State to consider privatizing youth detention centers

    by Associated Press on May 30, 7:45

    The state is seeking contractors to look into the feasibility of privatizing four of the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services’ juvenile detention facilities. The Peninsula Clarion reports that the department is considering privatizing four facilities in an effort to cut costs as the Legislature looks to trim the state budget. The feasibility study […]

  • Crime

    Friend remembers Brandon Merritt, 19-year-old killed in gas station shooting

    by Eric Ruble on May 29, 20:17

    Brandon Merritt had been in Alaska less than one month when he was shot and killed at a Holiday gas station on Abbott Road last week. He grew up here before moving to Hawai’i for his freshman year at Campbell High School in ‘Ewa Beach, where he met Sam Lewis. “Ever since the day we […]

  • News

    AFD calls Div. of Forestry, JBER for assistance with wildfire near East Anchorage

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on May 29, 18:01

    The Anchorage Fire Department is responding to a wildfire just less than a mile from an East Anchorage neighborhood. The fire was first reported at 5:25 p.m., according to fire dispatchers. AFD Fire Chief Denis LeBlanc said the fire was located on military land and was difficult to reach, so the department has reached out […]

  • News

    Dead whale found stuck on cruise ship docking in Seward

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on May 29, 17:26

    A dead humpback whale was found on the bow of a Holland America cruise ship Sunday morning in Seward. The Seward City News reported the Zaandam arrived at the Alaska Railroad terminal with what was initially believed to be juvenile humpback whale on the bulbous, lower bow. The whale has since been tentatively identified as […]

  • News

    DOF battles two wildfires near McGrath, one covers roughly 100 acres

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on May 29, 17:05

    The Alaska Division of Forestry is battling two wildfires near McGrath, including one that has grown to nearly 100 acres. The larger fire, known as the Medfra fire, was reported at 10:25 a.m. and “started in an old burn area and spread into an unburned area with fresh fuel.” The Alaska Interagency Coordination Center reports […]

  • News

    Firefighter: Grass fire at Glenn Highway ramp may have been started by cigarette

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on May 29, 15:20

    An Anchorage firefighter at the scene of a small grass fire near the Glenn Highway Sunday told KTVA it may have been started by a cigarette butt thrown out of a passing vehicle. The fire was first reported to the fire department at 2:25 p.m., according to fire dispatchers. The fire was out less than […]

  • News

    UPDATE: 8-year-old girl found safe; Anchorage police still looking for mother

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on May 29, 14:53

    Updated at 7 a.m. on Mon., May 30 Eight-year-old Nayla Demings, missing since early Sunday morning, has been located and is safe, according to a release from the Anchorage Police Department. Police are sill looking for her mother, 36-year-old Nakisha Reed, who has warrants for her arrest. Original story Anchorage Police Department is searching for an […]

  • News

    Park Service considers visitor caps, expects record crowds

    by Associated Press on May 29, 14:15

    As the National Park Service kicks off a centennial summer expected to draw record crowds, the agency is seriously considering caps on how many people pass through some of the country’s most iconic landscapes and historical sites each day. Park managers have begun looking at whether, when and how best to manage the impact of […]