A woman died Tuesday at the Allegheny County Jail some 39 hours after her arrest for possession of drug paraphernalia.
The cause of death of Tammy Marie Cox, 52, of Washington, was still under review today by the Allegheny County Medical Examiner's Office, pending toxicology reports. County spokeswoman Amie Downs confirmed that Ms. Cox "was found non-responsive and declared dead in her cell Tuesday morning," adding that there was no further information available.
Christine Oxley, Ms. Cox's friend and housemate who was arrested at the same time, said she remained in a holding cell with the deceased until she made bail five hours before the death.
"We just sat in that room and sat in that room, and she kept getting sicker and sicker," said Ms. Oxley. "By the time I left, she was so delirious she didn't know her name."
Ms. Cox's daughter, Amanda Musisko, said her mother was a kind woman who worked for a temporary employment agency, and happened to have a drug problem.
"She had been doing well recently," Ms. Musisko said. "The county needs to take action, to make sure it doesn't happen to anyone else."
A police report indicates that Ms. Cox was among several people arrested for drug and paraphernalia possession after Pittsburgh police made a traffic stop in the Hill District. She had seven doses of heroin and a needle, the report said. Ms. Cox was nervous, but cooperative upon arrest, the report said.
Because she had an active bench warrant for her arrest, Ms. Cox could not be bailed out of jail, according to Ms. Oxley.
Ms. Musisko said the family would likely sue the county.
Rich Lord: email@example.com or 412-263-1542.