Indiana State Police Investigating Death of Black Woman in Custody


Ta’Neasha Chappell

By Stacy M. Brown, NNPA Newswire Senior National Correspondent

Indiana State Police are investigating the death of 23-year-old Ta’neasha Chappel, a Black woman who died after being transported from a Jackson County jail to a local hospital on Friday, July 16.

“It is with extreme sadness that we announce the passing of Ta’Neasha Chappell. She unexpectedly passed away at The Jackson County Jail in Brownstown, Indiana,” wrote Jeffontae Elijah McClain, who has organized a GoFundMe for Chappell’s funeral expenses.

“She was a loving mother, sister, daughter, and friend who touched the lives of many around her. She leaves behind her 10-year-old daughter Nevaeh who will miss her terribly,” McClain continued on the GoFundMe site that so far has raised about $2,600.

According to law enforcement officials, Indiana State Police arrested Chappell in May, alleging she participated in a shoplifting ring from Louisville, Kentucky, to Edinburgh, Indiana.
Unable to raise the $4,000 bond, Chappell remained in custody as she awaited a court hearing.

Authorities at the prison said Chappell complained of feeling sick and was rushed to Seymour Hospital, where doctors pronounced her dead on Friday, July 16.

“It is unsettling, we want justice, we want answers – we have a lot of questions and no answers,” Ronesha Murrell, Chappell’s sister, told WDRB.

Indiana’s Channel 3 News reported that Chappell’s family said they talked to her days before her death, and she seemed healthy and in good spirits.

“I asked her how it was going. She was like she’s doing okay,” Chappell’s sister, Ronesha Murrell, explained to the news outlet.

“We just talked, we just laughed for a little minute, she talked to my son, and we ended the conversation with I love you, she was going to call me back.

Chappell’s mother told WAVE 3 News her daughter feared for her life in the jail.

“She called every day telling us to get her out of there,” Chappell’s mother, Lavita McClain, said. “‘Mama, they’re going to kill me in here, they’re going to kill me in here,’ and she would always say ‘get me out of here if anything happens to me, just know that they did it.’”

The family has demanded answers.

“We are all devastated by her loss but are working tirelessly to figure out the events that transpired moments before her passing,” Jeffontae Elijah McClain stated.

“In the meantime, we need any help possible to give her the proper burial she deserves. Any help will go to her funeral arrangements and autopsy. On behalf of our family, we truly appreciate your support and encouragement during this time.”