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Family of opioid-addicted mother, 30, sues police over her death

por Stella Waltman (2020-06-19)

Relatives of a Vermont woman whose obituary drew national attention for its discussion of her opioid addiction filed a lawsuit Thursday in which they accuse police and jail staff of denying her proper medical care and causing her death.

The family of Madelyn Linsenmeir, who had a young son, alleges in the federal lawsuit filed in western Massachusetts that law enforcement ignored the 30-year-old mother's repeated pleas for medical help. 

In a shocking video from her arrest, the young mother can be heard telling police she needs to go to hospital as it feels like her chest is caving in. 

They ignored her requests and she died several days later in October 2018 from an infected heart valve.

The family has filed the lawsuit against the city of Springfield and the Hampden County Sheriff's Department. 

Linsenmeir's obituary written by her family was shared widely for its candid discussion of her struggle with drug addiction. It was even shared by Ivanka Trumo who commended the family's 'generous act'.  


Madelyn Linsenmeir who died in police custody in October 2018 pictured with her young son

Madelyn Linsenmeir is heard asking for water and claiming that her chest is caving in 

The young mother appears in distress as she is booked into a Vermont jail 

Ivanka Trump was among those who thanked Madelyn's family for sharing her story 

'Madelyn's illness was treatable. Her life could have been saved; her suffering could have been spared,' says the lawsuit.  

Springfield's city solicitor didn't immediately return a phone message seeking comment. 

The sheriff's department said in an emailed statement that it cannot comment on a specific death but 'always aims to provide the best healthcare available' to those in its custody.

Madelyn Ellen Linsenmeir, 30, died on October 7 in Burlington, Vermont, after a lengthy battle with addiction which began when she was in high school. 

She had a toddler son named Ayden. 

In her Burlington Free Press obituary, the family initially made no effort to conceal what claimed her life but have now sued the police after the revealing video showing her treatment. 

She was arrested in September 2018 and charged with being a fugitive from a warrant in New Hampshire and giving a false name, the family argues in the lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts and Prisoners' Legal Services of Massachusetts. 





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A civil rights lawsuit has been filed on behalf of the family of Madelyn Linsenmeir after she died while in custody of the Hampden County Sheriff's department in October 2018

Madelyn Linsenmeir is refused help but dies several days later from an infected heart valve

The video shows the 30-year-old heaped onto the desk as she is booked into the jail

She had been on probation for a drug-related offense, which she was supposed to complete in Vermont. Instead, she left for Massachusetts, and the arrest warrant was issued, the family says.

Video of Linsenmeir after her arrest shows her asking for water and telling police that it felt like her chest was caving in and that she was in pain.

'I might need to go the hospital,' she said.

Instead of being taken to the hospital, Linsenmeir was taken to the Western Massachusetts Regional Women's Correctional Center, the family says. 

The family says she repeatedly told staff there she was sick and needed medical help but was told 'the situation was her own fault for using drugs'.

On October 4, 2018, medical staff saw that she was in distress, and she was taken to the hospital, according to the lawsuit. 

She died days later at the hospital while in the custody of the sheriff's department, the lawsuit says.

'In Maddie´s name, we will continue to advocate for the humane treatment of people everywhere who struggle with substance use disorder, especially those who are at the mercy of a criminal justice system that is clearly not equipped to respond to the opioid crisis,' her family said in an emailed statement. 

Maddie's family brought her home in the summer of 2018 to try to help her kick her disease. She was there for 12 days. She is pictured during that time with her father, right 

Hampden County Sheriff's Department is being sued by Maddie's family over her death

 Linsenmeir's obituary said she tried to stay sober but was always overcome by her addiction, eventually losing custody of her young son. 

'While her death was unexpected, Madelyn suffered from drug addiction, and for years we feared her addiction would claim her life. We are grateful that when she died she was safe and she was with her family,' it read. 

Despite her efforts, she lost custody of her son in 2016 and her addiction spiraled. 

It was fueled, the family explained, by the deadly circle of shame and self-punishment which addicts are prone to.  

In the summer of 2018, after plummeting to 'places of incredible darkness', she went home to her family's house to try to get clean. 

Over 12 days, she remained sober for the most part and her family hoped she would be able to stick to it.  

Her addiction however 'stalked' her and they said it was only quenched by her death. 

'Though we would have paid any ransom to have her back, any price in the world, this disease would not let her go until she was gone,' the family said. If you cherished this article and you simply would like to get more info relating to drug addiction treatment centers in arkansas -, i implore you to visit our own internet site.    

The obituary goes on to urge anyone who may reserve judgement towards drug addicts to reconsider their attitude and offer compassion or empathy instead. 

It was shared by Ivanka Trump and many others.