A grandmother died in jail and her family had no idea she had even been locked up until the authorities contacted them to inform them of her passing.

The family thought Janice Dotson-Stephens, 61, was being treated at the state hospital, but in fact, she had been arrested and taken to Bexar County jail.

Janice Dotson-Stephens, 61, had been held in jail for criminal trespass.

 

Leticia Dotson, Dotson-Stephens' daughter-in-law were devasted over her death and claimed that Dotson-Stephens suffered from mental illness.

“We just felt that she shouldn’t have died as a criminal in the jailhouse," Dotson said. "She wasn’t a criminal. She had mental health illness."

They told KSAT that Dotson-Stephens had a history of mental illness and health problems and had been arrested before but would be quickly evaluated and transferred to the state hospital. For some reason, that was not the case this time. Dotson-Stephens who died last Friday has been in jail since July.

“If it changed and we had to bail her out before the process of getting her to the state hospital, we would have done that,” Dotson said.

Dotson-Stephens' bail had been set at $300 meaning that it would have cost roughly $30 to bail her out.

"She had people who loved her and family who would have easily paid the $30 to get her out of jail if that’s what we had to do to take the next step,” Dotson said.

“If your family has a mental illness, it’s not in their control," Dotson said. "She shouldn’t die as a criminal. They should die as, ‘This person had a mental illness and this is what happened.’”

Bexar County officials said Dotson-Stephens’ death appeared to be from natural causes but would not confirm if Dotson-Stephens was diagnosed with a mental health condition. They claim that Dotson-Stephens did not have a next of kin listed and that transfers to hospitals require a court order.

So, no apologies.