Here's everything we know about Ralkina Jones, another woman who died in jail

This image was removed due to legal reasons.

Less than two weeks after Sandra Bland died in her Waller County Jail cell, another woman was found to have met a similar fate.


Details are still emerging about Ralkina Jones, but Fusion has been in touch with the Cleveland Heights Police Department and the Cuyahoga County Medical Examiner’s office to learn everything we can about her case. We will continue to update this story as we learn more.

We know that Jones was black and that she was a resident of Cleveland. She was 37 years old at the time of her death.

We know that Jones died on July 26 in custody at the Cleveland Heights Jail Facility. We know that her body was received by the Medical Examiner that same day. We know that the Medical Examiner performed her autopsy on July 27.

UPDATE, 3:15 p.m. ET: The Cuyahoga County Medical Examiner’s office confirmed to Fusion that Ralkina Jones’ autopsy had been performed. The cause of death has yet to be announced, pending further studies, but they say that no suspicious injuries have been identified.

Jones’ sister, Renee Ashford, spoke with on Monday about the mysterious circumstances surrounding Jones’ death. Ashford said that Jones was “perfectly fine” when she visited her in jail on Saturday. She also said that police told her they had taken Jones to the hospital due to problems with her blood pressure and blood sugar—but not much else.


“[My sister] would want us to find out why,” Ashford told “You can’t just tell me one minute I seen my sister, then the next day she dead. That don’t even make sense. And it’s just, ‘I can’t help you. I can’t tell you.’ Like, no. That’s un-human.”


UPDATE, 4:36 p.m. ET: Fusion has obtained Ralkina Jones’ arrest record as well as a statement from the Cleveland Heights Police Department.

The record states that Jones was arrested in the parking lot of the Cleveland Heights Save-A-Lot following a verbal and physical altercation with her ex-husband and "another male."


The two men told the six officers called to the scene that Jones used a silver tire iron to break the driver’s side window of her ex-husband's car. The record states that she struck her ex-husband’s left forearm with the tire iron before allegedly driving at both men with her car. Jones’ 12-year-old daughter was in the backseat of her vehicle at the time.

An independent witness confirmed the two men’s version of events.

Jones was arrested and brought to the Cleveland Heights police station, where she was booked at 10:25 p.m. She was held on charges of felonious assault, domestic violence, endangering a child, criminal mischief, and disturbance. The record states that her ex-husband declined to prosecute.

This image was removed due to legal reasons.

The Cleveland Heights PD’s press statement says that Jones was treated for several medical conditions documented during her intake process and that she was administered her prescribed medication as directed. No injuries were observed at the time.


On Saturday evening, Jones was taken to nearby HealthSpan after a jail administrator observed her to be “lethargic.” She was evaluated and released at 10:40 p.m., and her vitals were observed to be “normal” at 12:45 a.m. later that night.

The statement says that routine checks on Jones were performed overnight. During one of those routine checks at 7:35 a.m. Sunday morning, she was found "unresponsive" in the holding cell. Paramedics from the Cleveland Heights Fire Department were unable to locate her vitals, and they determined that she was deceased.


Related coverage:
Native American activist found dead in jail just one day after Sandra Bland
What Sandra Bland’s death tells us about mental health and the police
12 burning questions about the Sandra Bland arrest video, answered by a lawyer

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