Native Casino Employee Ignored, Left to Die in Jail During Fentanyl Detox

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  • The deceased was put in the same cell as her daughter
  • The woman was sent to a hospital but returned to jail two hours later, where she later died
  • The family of the deceased is looking to take legal action against the detention center

A table game dealer at the Seven Clans Casino in Thief River Falls, Minnesota was allegedly ignored and left to die of a suspected drug overdose while jailed at Red Lake Detention Center.

The family of the deceased, whose name is Dwan White Owl, is requisitioning an explanation as to why the woman, was ignored during the come-down from her fentanyl high. The woman was also placed in the same cell as her daughter, Danitra Warpaint, who said that she requested medical assistance from the moment they arrived at the prison.

The incident is still an open matter.

An avoidable death

White Owl and Warpaint were arrested Monday, June 9 as part of a drug bust. The crime allegedly took place on Red Lake reservation land, which meant that the pair were transferred to the tribe’s detention center. White Owl was high on fentanyl when she was arrested, according to her family.

Despite the constant pleas of Warpaint, White Owl wasn’t taken to the Red Lake County Hospital until two days later on Sunday. She was also released from the hospital just two hours later and sent back to the prison.

Warpaint continued to cry out for help from the jail’s security guards but had her requests for further medical attention ignored.

Every time [the security guards] came, I kept asking for help, but they didn’t want to help,” said Warpaint. “They kept telling us to wait until the nurse comes in the morning, but when she came in the morning, she didn’t check on her.”

White Owl Sunday morning eventually passed away on Sunday morning. The jail’s staff administered CPR and sent her back to Red Lake Hospital, but she could not be saved.

Warpaint was allowed to travel to the hospital later and was informed by a doctor that her mother had passed away. She was not provided with an official cause of death. White Owl’s sister said the hospital gave the deceased a “death sentence”  by returning her to the jail to “detox naturally.”

Fallout from the incident

Belgarde hopes that her sister’s passing will inspire the jail’s personnel to take better care of its inmates, and that the hospital will become more aware of the potential perils that can occur from allowing guests to naturally detoxify after drug use. She has also started a GoFundMe, which she hopes will raise enough money for her to pursue legal action against the jail.

“Our family is asking for justice for the inhumane treatment [White Owl] received while in the care of the Red Lake Tribal Jail,” Delgarde’s GoFundMe page says. “We intend to hire an attorney to hold the Red Lake Jail accountable for failing to exercise reasonable care and for staff negligence in providing medical care to injured or ill inmates.”

Belgarde shared that White Owl was a kind soul with a sweet smile that loved to play with children and animals. However, as she grew older, she fell into the clutches of opioid addiction to deal with her mental health.

Like many people that are depressed, they use humor and laughter and smiles to conceal what is going on underneath,” said Belgarde.

On June 22, the Red Lake Tribal Council announced the completion of a drug bust at the real money casino where White Owl worked. 

“This operation demonstrates the Red Lake Nation’s commitment to the health and safety of staff and customers, and the nation’s goal of preserving the well-being of the community,” the release said.

The Council called the operation a “remarkable success” and said they recovered large amounts of drugs.

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