Inmate dies from undiagnosed leukemia in Missouri cell

Inmate dies from undiagnosed leukemia in Missouri cell
Lamar Catchings was found unresponsive in his jail cell on March 1. An investigation revealed he died from undiagnosed leukemia.

CLAYTON, MO (KMOV/CNN) - A Missouri mother is heartbroken after her son died while in jail.

He was suffering, undiagnosed, from a disease that proved fatal.

“I was devastated ... to know that my child had cancer and he laid in a cell and he got no help,” Tashonda Troupe said. “And they just ignored his cries for help, his pain.”

The cause of death for Lamar Catchings, 20, had been a mystery since he was found unresponsive in his cell at the St. Louis County Justice Center on March 1.

Thursday, the medical examiner released their findings after an investigation into Catchings’ death.

Investigators concluded that Catchings likely suffered and died from a very treatable form of leukemia - acute promyelocytic leukemia, which can be diagnosed through blood tests, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported.

This form of leukemia is consider by the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society to be the most curable form of adult leukemia.

“It was treatable. He could have seen the doctor, and he could have still been here with me,” Troupe said.

She shared recordings of her son during a court appearance in January, when he was able to walk on his own.

A month later, there was a stark contrast in his condition - Catchings was rolled into court in a wheelchair.

An inmate interviewed by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch said Catchings was extremely sick and weak for at least two weeks before his death.

“All this is just tearing at my heart,” Troupe said. “He could just sit there. He was like this. He was head down. He was just ... because his body was in pain.”

Catching may have been dead for hours before his body was discovered, the Post-Dispatch reported. County records point out the corrections officer working Catchings’ floor the night he died didn’t follow proper protocol by not making Catchings stand in his cell during inmate checks.

Instead, it was reported the officer only looked through the cell window and observed Catchings lying on his bed.

“So therefore they were criminally negligent,” Troupe said.

Troupe has hired an attorney and is demanding for the county to hold the corrections officers and nurses responsible for her son’s death.

“I’m about to lose my mind sometimes. I can’t believe my child is gone, especially when he didn’t have to be,” Troupe said.

Catchings is one of three recent deaths at the St. Louis County Jail. All three are under investigation.

Copyright 2019 KMOV via CNN. All rights reserved. Gray Television Group contributed to this report.