BRIGHTON, Colo. — Tyler Tabor told medical staff at the Adams County Detention Facility he was going through a heroin withdrawal when he was booked May 14 for outstanding warrants.
His parents said the 25-year-old should’ve never died from dehydration three days later while still in custody.
“I absolutely feel like they dropped the ball out there and, yeah, they took my son from me out there,” said Tabor’s father, Ray Tabor.
Tabor’s death was ruled “natural causes” and last week, Adams County District Attorney Dave Young released his report that found no criminal negligence on the part of jail staff.
But Ray Tabor said the district attorney’s report raises disturbing questions about his son’s treatment.
“He asked for an IV. He was falling on the floor. How do you just pass by that?” Ray Tabor said.
In the investigative report, a nurse admitted Tabor asked for an IV treatment the night before he died but, “she told him they try not to use IV’s unless it’s absolutely necessary.”
Tabor’s mother, Michele McLean, said it was obvious her son needed more than Gatorade.
“The fact that he couldn’t even hold his medication to take his pill, that should be a red flag for anybody,” McLean said.
The report into the death noted that at times Tabor would lose his balance, and needed deputies to hold him up and help him take his medication.
A routine “row check” at 5 a.m. on May 17 didn’t take place because deputies said they were dealing with two other incidents inside the jail at the time.
At 5:25 a.m., deputies noticed Tabor was having trouble breathing and had a nurse check his vitals. An ambulance arrived, but Tabor died before he made it to a hospital.
“We want something to change so nobody else has to go through this,” McLean said.
In his report, Young said medical staff appeared to follow established protocol and that even if deputies had made their 5 a.m. rounds, it’s unlikely they would’ve noticed Tabor’s breathing troubles, based on jailhouse video that investigators have reviewed.
Tabor’s parents have hired Denver attorney David Lane and said the Adams County Detention Facility and the private contractor it uses to provide medical services, Corizon Health, can expect a lawsuit.
“Addiction is addiction, that doesn’t make that person a bad person,” McLean said.