Grandmother dies in Monroe County Jail, her family wants the sheriff held accountable Grandmother dies in Monroe County Jail, her family wants the sheriff held accountable
A grandmother who ended up in the Monroe County Jail, died in her cell in July. News10NBC has found out, exclusively, that her family wants... Grandmother dies in Monroe County Jail, her family wants the sheriff held accountable

A grandmother who ended up in the Monroe County Jail, died in her cell in July.

News10NBC has found out, exclusively, that her family wants the sheriff and his department to be held accountable.

The family of Roxanne Whitfield-Odle filed what’s called a Notice of Claim with the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office this week.

Whitfield-Odle was a grandmother to three children and a former substitute teacher in Sodus. She was 55 years old when she died.

Pastor Terry Simmons of the Upper Room Family Worship Center on Joseph Avenue is a family friend and presided at the funeral.

“Roxanne Whitfield was a caring, loving, compassionate young lady with a big heart,” Pastor Simmons said.

News10NBC Chief Investigative Reporter Berkeley Brean: “What happened to her at the jail?”

Pastor Terry Simmons, Upper Room Family Worship Center: “I’m not really certain. From what I was told there may have been some neglect.”

News10NBC can’t get access to the claim because it’s not filed with the Monroe County Clerk’s Office yet.

Rochester Police arrested Whitfield-Odle in June and charged her with drug possession. Police will not say what kind of drugs were involved. She was locked up at the jail in Brighton, next to MCC.

News10NBC contacted the sheriff’s office and the sheriff called us back on Thursday.

He said he can’t talk when his office is getting sued. But, he referred News10NBC to the news release his office sent out the day Roxanne Whitfield-Odle died.

It says she was found in her bed and that deputies tried to perform CPR but it didn’t work. Then it said, “No foul play is suspected.”

Whitfield-Odle’s death was part of a series of problems in the county jail this year.

In April, an inmate escaped at Strong Hospital. She was later found. Five days after Whitfield-Odle died in custody, another inmate was wrongly let go after he was in court.

Two days later, Jail Superintendent Ronald Harling was temporarily relieved from duty. The sheriff’s office says the superintendent is still not at work and its internal investigation is still underway.

Official causes of Whitfield-Odle’s death from the Monroe County Medical Examiner’s Office are considered confidential.

Pastor Simmons says Whitfield-Odle came to church three weeks before she died.

“And she seemed to have been in good health,” he said. “I know it is given for each and every one of us to go, but I didn’t really see (her death) coming.”

News10NBC checked online records and there is no evidence Whitfield-Odle has ever been indicted in Monroe County, nor has she ever served time in any NYS prison.

The lawyer for Roxanne Whitfield-Odle’s family is Van White. News10NBC talked to him on the phone Wednesday night about the claim. He choose not to talk about it on Thursday.

When you file a Notice of Claim, the government entity has at least 90 days to respond.   —- WHEC 10

Christopher Dupree

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