FIRST ON 3: Woman hangs herself in Bladen Co. Jail; inmates complain of conditions
 

BLADEN COUNTY, NC (WWAY) -- The Bladen County Sheriff says a woman is dead after she hanged herself in jail just hours after a judge denied her request for a lower bond.

Linda Hester Edwards, 44, attempted suicide at the Bladen County Jail Monday. She was taken to New Hanover Regional Medical Center, where she died this morning.

Edwards appeared in court Monday to answer to felony charges of larceny and possession of stolen goods. Court records show she was accused of stealing more than $15,000 worth of jewelry. The clerk's office says Edwards's attorney requested her $100,000 bond be reduced, but the motion was denied.

Bladen County Sheriff Prentis Benston says he can only remember one other death at the jail since he took office in 2010. He says that case resulted in a lawsuit the county settled.

The sheriff said he did not have time for an interview with us. However, inmates had plenty to say about the conditions of the jail.

While WWAY was outside the jail, inmates yelled through the windows about bad conditions inside.

"They got inspectors and mold all over the walls in here, and the people be in here sick, throwing up, and they will not come and check on us," one inmate said. "You have to tell them that you're either dying or going to commit suicide for them to come back and check on you."

And several inmates said they need to see doctors, but cannot.

"I've been trying to see the doctor for four and a half months, but they will not let me see the doctor," one man yelled. "I got a hernia."

Inmates say when they have a problem, their complaints fall on deaf ears

"Every time we write a grievance for them, they take it and throw it away," another inmate said.

District Attorney Jon David says the SBI is investigating, which he says is common procedure when an inmate dies in custody. He says the county is looking into building a new jail.

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First of all regardless of the situation a life was cut short by what ever the reason and I express sorrow for u and your family second if anyone thinks its just the jail that needs fixing then once again Bladen County has u snowed come on lets be real hear where else can a mayor block every and anything having to do with growth because it will cut into her pockets. Lawyers can get caught in hotel rooms with drugs and strippers but yet still represent you in court. Law enforcement can have rental property used for drug sells and a police chief that was caught on tape by the SBI warning a drug trafficker that he was under investigation by the feds.......and he is still chief of police undisputed video of drug deals going down in broad day light and nothing ever happens and if you ask about this there response is what video and we cant do anything our hands are tied. What Bladen County needs is an intervention starting at the top of the pole to the bottom its really bad when even the simple departments in the county cant be run right like EMS and Fire services you have people who are sleeping with other people marriages that have ended because of this but yet the people in charge never change they just pick the corner of the rug up and sweep it away and god help anyone who steps up and try to stop it or make it right we have seen what happens to those people and there are those people who will say that its my fault or your fault for voteing for these people but lets keep it real how many dead people have cast ballots in this county over the last 10 years you may be surprised to find out that quite a few has so how do we change it unless you have money we cant all we can do is pray pray and pray some more that we get to one day have a nice straight town to live in and raise our kids I am not scared of the criminals I AM SCARED OF OUR LEADERS THAT ARE IN CHARGE OF BLADEN COUNTY...................

MY NAME IS KIMBERLY AND I AM THE OLDEST DAUGHTER OF LINDA EDWARDS. THANK YOU TO THE ONES WHO HAVE COMMENTED AND HAVE BEEN NICE ABOUT IT. BUT TO THE ONES WHO HAVE BEEN MEAN AND HATEFUL, I HAVE NO USE FOR PEOPLE LIKE YOU. NONE OF YOU KNEW WHAT MY MOM WAS LIKE, AND THE LAST FEW YEARS OF HER LIFE SHE HAD A BAD PROBLEM. BUT ALL IN ALL MY MOM WAS A GREAT LOVING, CARING, AND BEAUTIFUL MOTHER. SHE TOOK GREAT CARE OF US, AND ALWAYS HAD A BEAUTIFUL SMILE ON HER FACE. I LOVED MY MOM WITH EVERYTHING I HAD IN ME, AND I WILL CONTINUE TO ALWAYS LOVE AND MISS HER. PLEASE PEOPLE, THINK ABOUT WHAT YOU ARE GOING TO SAY BEFORE TO GET ON HERE AND COMMENT SOMETHING YOU HAVE NO IDEA ABOUT. AGAIN THANK YOU TO THE ONES WHO HAVE KEPT OUR FAMILY IN YOUR THOUGHTS AND PRAYERS

I did not know your mother but my heart goes out to you and the rest of her family and friends. Everyone ive heard speak about her, (that knowed her) said only good things about her. The only bad ive heard is from people that have never meet her. So remember that when you read this trash talk on her from people that dont know what there talking about. Yall are all in my thoughts and prayers. PS:I think you should sue the @#$/ out of those incompetents down there at that jailhouse.

People r cruel Kimberly..and there are some that just don't realize how serious an addiction can be. Theres things I know that r unanswered and I am so sorry for everything u are going through. For those of us that knew Linda, we knew the person she really was. Its easy for people to state their opinion and be cruel when they do not know the person and the person is not part of their family or lives. I could promise you all of these opinions from each person would be a lot different if the tables were turned and they lost someone they loved and cared for. Keep your head up..lean on your family and know u r being thought of and loved very much!

It amazes me how people can be so cruel & why? Because her sin was different from ours? Yes, the world has gone crazy!!!! No one, not even me knows her situation when she did this, but her family needs prayers and sympathy not what's going on in these comments. Many prayers for everyone.

Its crazy how people has come on here and said the things that they have said...Of course when we do a crime we have to do the time but what kind of people has no compassion for a woman that is struggling and fighting a huge battle within herself. She has a family..and you don't know her story. Im sure half of the people that has commented has done something in their lifetime that could of a got you put in jail. She was in there for a simple larceny charge, which did not deserve a 100,000 bond. Have you had a glass of wine at dinner and drove home, have you argued with someone, have you ever been in a fight, have you ran a stop sign? There you go you hard core criminal...DUI, Communicating Threats, Assault and Careless and Wreckless..Umm aint it a good thing you didn't get caught? I do understand that no one knows addiction unless you have had one, so it is kind of hard to understand..so if you don't get it why not ask before you throw stones? Its because you don't care. Im pretty sure if this had a been one of your family members you would be defending her instead of kicking her in the head. No jail is not suppose to be the best thing in life but at the same time how do you know that everyone sitting there is guilty? You aren't the judge and it is suppose to be innocent til proven guilty. Yep I am one of those criminals..I could care less what any of you say about me because I have sit in that crummy jail and I have pulled my time ..but all in all I could pretty much bet you that I have done more for people (even being the criminal) than any of you judgemental people ever have. Yeah they should be watched, yes they should be checked on and yes they should get medical treatment..if none of this is getting done then why are there people being paid to do it. As for the sheriff out of respect for the youngens that lost their mother..the mother that lost her daughter and the brothers and sisters that lost one of their best friends..HE SHOULD HAD OF A MADE TIME FOR A STATEMENT! I can also bet that most of you that has posted something on here think you are the best things ever...no better than me or Linda honey. Judging ... is that right? Linda was a good woman..a great person that had a battle and needed a little help...but of course it just gets harder and harder when there are people like you to step on someone instead of give them a hand and help them up. Right now I have a job, Im not locked up, I take care of my family, I help people when I can..All that but Im still no better than the man that stole food to feed his family yesterday.

People do not know what is going on in some ones mind when they commit suicide my brother was the other one that committed suicide in BC Jail and he wasn't in there for stealing or drugs you only hear what they want you to hear so some of you simple minded people need to think what these people are really going through before you judge them

I am sorry this women died my prayers for her family ,but she was brave enough to go out and steel and do what ever else she wanted but could not face her time,that is her fault.As far as the conditions of the jail well they didn't check in to the Hilton on their own,they were checked in to jail because they committed a crime.they lucky to have a roof over their heads and food to eat there are a lot of people working to pay for their free ride,why should they have it better than the ones paying their way.

well tammy not verified no one said she should ve had it better than anyone else.
my friends and i that knew her were just saying how bad it was people like you pass judgement on people they have never met and don't know any more about them than they see in a 10 second newscast and on a web page like this and all of a sudden know everything there is to know about them[]/+.YT
never once did anyone say she should be better off than the ones paying their way.
if you break the law yes you should pull the time for it.
can you please for the love of pete show me where we said she should have it better than the rest?

First off i notice that no one on here has used there naMe. All you snobs and nay sayers would have a different opinions if this woman had been your daughter or sister or mom. Do you not believe in innocent until proven guilty. Most (Not all) of the jailers act like they hate there jobs and the inmates. Bladen county needs a new jail. No one expects anyone to kiss the inmates butts but when people are put in a cage where they cant do for them selves the jailers have a job to atleast keep them safe. There have been to many incidents. They can expect a deserved lawsuit. They can keep paying out to familys or do something about the jail. Maybe your mom borrows a friends car. Shes gets stopped by the law and they find drugs in the car. She says its not hers she borrowed the car and knows nothing about the drugs. Guess where shes going anyway.. jail. She gets there and the girls in her cell beat her half to death. Then People call her a low life and say shes a drugie and she deserves it. Maybe not the case here but you catch my drift?

I had the unfortunate experience to spend 10 LONG days in the Bladen County Jail last year and it is the most inhumane,nasty,underequipped jail I believe in the state of North Carolina. There was no hot water for inmates to take a shower with,had to wash in ice cold water even after inmates had wrote to tell the Sheriff and town board members time and time again,with no response. I know jail is supposed to be a place that you never are supposed to want to go back to,but you have to treat people like they are humans! Not treat them like they are animals!! There are hardened criminals in there but there is also people,like myself that never should have been put in there in the first place!And now that a woman has taken her life,I think that something needs to be done to improve the conditions in which inmates are having to reside in a underequipped,inhumane place such as this! Thanks

I read the comments below and some of them talk about the low lifes and such.
Have you ever stopped to consider you have no idea what she might have been going through?
It's easy for you to sit safe behind your keyboards and pass almighty judgement on someone you don't even know.

She was a childhood friend of mine and will be dearly missed.
She was HUMAN. human make mistakes, although I'm pretty sure you that pass judgement below are indeed perfect and have never done wrong.
Does the phrase 'judge not, lest ye be judged' mean anything? ever hear of it?
Or, 'Let he who is without sin cast the first stone' ? sound familiar?

you people need to sit back and reflect on your perfect selves before judging someone like this. Especially someone you never met.

Ben,you're absolutely right; she was HUMAN...ALL of us are;all,except the "perfect" ones on here judging people and situations they don't know.I also have known Linda for the last 30 years.She always had a smile for anyone she knew,or had any contact with.I'm not judging her or condemning her,or anyone else in jail.She had a few problems,we all do.I don't agree with some of the choices she made the last few months,and I'm sure she wouldn't agree with some of the choices her friends or family,or anyone else made.If she was to be found guilty of the things she was accused of(not yet convicted),then yes,she should have had to serve her sentence,noone is saying she shouldn't have.Please,people,just let her RIP..just as you would want your friends or family to,if the shoe was on the other foot...The bickering is not going to change OR solve anything.

If only we prayed as much as we sat on websites gossiping. How about we pray for the family that is going through a tough time and for our country. There is only one which is GOD who can and will handle all other situations.

This article wasn't meant to ask for special treatment. Its meant to draw the attention in the direction of a sucide that could have been prevented or stopped. A life could have been spared IF the jailers would supervise inmates or keep watch on the "expensive" surveillance cameras the county recently installed. If they are short staff on female jailers send them else where. These "low life's" you speak of are human beings with families that love and are concerned of their well being. The crimes they commit shoul be handled accordingly. This is the second death by sucide within a three year period and not to mention the beatings that have taken place within the cells.
Before you speak of special treatment maybe you should first visit the jail and see just how harsh the conditions are in Bladen County. Inmates had rather be in state institutions any day than have to wait for a court date in this facility. AND if you can't meet bond, the court system is in no hurry to have you sentenced by a judge. If they were then why are inmate in there from 5 months to a year before being tried.
Come on now...People have more compassion for a pit bull that breaks it chain and attacks someone than a human life that's fighting their own demons.

How quick people are to judge others. I knew this person personally. She was one of my best friends and would had done anything she could to help others. She was/is a mother, a sister,aunt, grandmother,and daughter. She was a hard worker and at one point she was very active in church. I don't understand why she did what she did, and I may never understand but that doesn't make Linda any less of a human being. We all make mistakes for no one is perfect.A bond set that high for stealing?? Come on now. Drug dealers get bonds less than that!! My heart breaks for her family, especially for her young children and grandchildren. RIP Linda...no matter what others say or think about you...I know (and many others) what a good human being you were. I'm hoping and praying that you are in heaven, reunited with your baby boy. Only you and God knows your heart in those last few precious moments.

I am so sorry you lost your friend. I believe that when or if the truth comes. It will show the awful incompetence By the jail as a whole.please give her family my condolences. I will be praying for God to ease there pain andd yours also.

Anyone that commits suicide has huge issues going on that go well beyond their crime or incarceration conditions! Most people don't "visit" jails or prisons and never will because they are responsible, hard-working, law-abiding people. Remember them, the victims?

If you're stupid enough to commit felonius crimes, you're stupid enough to get caught and go to prison for it. You actually expect to arouse sympathy and compassion for criminals?

We would have much better luck at preventing return prisoners if we modeled and operated our prisons after what they have in Mexico and Bolivia! I'm all for that!

I'll bet you're one of the idiots I spotted on Oleander and College sporting a sign that read "Terrorists are humans too!".

HELLO TO YOU THE ***SECRETIVE GUEST O MATIC*** WHO IS TOO SCARED TO PUT YOUR NAME ON HERE FOR PEOPLE TO READ. LINDA IS MY MOM, AND YES SHE DONE WRONG IN THE LAST FEW MONTHS OF HER LIFE. BUT I GUESS YOU ARE ONE OF THE PERFECT ONES HERE IN THIS WORLD THAT HAVE NO SKELETONS IN THEIR CLOSET OR HAVE NEVER DONE NO WRONG. I HAVE NO USE FOR PEOPLE LIKE YOU. HAVE YOU EVEN STOPPED TO THINK...WHAT IF SHE WAS YOUR MOM, SISTER, OR YOUR DAUGHTER. YOU HAVEN'T HAVE YOU...I DIDN'T THINK SO. YOU KNEW NOTHING ABOUT MY MOM, AND IF YOU HAVE EVER BEEN IN BLADEN COUNTY JAIL HOUSE...(WHICH IM GUESSING YOU HAVEN'T BECAUSE YOU ARE ONE OF THE WORLDS PERFECT PEOPLE) YOU WOULDN'T WANT TO BE IN THERE NEITHER. NO NOT TRYING TO KILL YOURSELF TO GET OUT BUT SHIT HAPPENS. I DO NOT BELIEVE MY MOM HUNG HERSELF, AND I WON'T NEVER BELIEVE THAT. SHE WASN'T THAT TYPE OF PERSON. YES SHE DONE WRONG, AND AGAIN WE ALL DO.. EXCEPT YOU. YOU ARE ONE HEARTLESS INDIVIDUAL, THAT I HAVE NO USE FOR. YOU CAN SIT BEHIND YOUR KEYBOARD, AND WRITE ALL THE THINGS YOU WANT TO, BUT YOU ARE TOO MUCH OF A COWARD TO PUT AT LEAST YOUR FIRST NAME. YOU HAVE TO BE A *GUEST* WELL *GUEST* I AM THE TYPE OF PERSON TO WISH YOU THE BEST IN LIFE, AND I HOPE YOU GET EVERYTHING YOU DESERVE. MY MOTHER (LINDA) TAUGHT ME RIGHT FROM WRONG, AND APPERANTLEY, YOUR FAMILY DIDN'T TOO GOOD ON THAT WITH YOURSELF. HAVE A NICE DAY, AND I WILL KEEP YOU IN MY PRAYERS.

No, I'm not an "IDIOT"!I will tell you who I am. I too am a hard working, law abiding tax payer whose been victimized by a felon, more than once. I am a sister of an addict. I am a mother of an addict. I have lost an uncle, a sister, my granddaughters father to the addiction of prescription drugs. I am a mourning sister in law of the deceased, named above. If I were to stand on a street and hold a sign it would warn you and others of the Doctors and Pharmacies that give prescription drugs to those that they KNOW are addicts. I would warn you of the elders in the town that sell their meds to these people for extra income so they can make ends meet. And how the jails are suppose to have addicts that are subject to withdraws on suicide watch.
I'll pray that God would should compassion on you regardless of you bitterness and presumption of and idiot.
A fragile human life (addict) should never be compared to a treat to human life(terrorist).

I am so sorry for you and this womens family. Those who judge will be judged. Yall are in my prayers.

So, what I'm getting out of your statement is: this woman was an addict, driven to suicide because of withdrawal from prescription medication?
Yet, in the same post, you want to blame doctors for addiction?
Here in lies the problem with addicts.
The problem? People who don't know they CAN'T win against addiction.
I know it makes it easier to accept the failings of your loved ones as addicts to try to place blame on ANYTHING else. But...it won't save the addict nor will it "fix" them.
NOTHING will fix an addict, other than their own will to stop. Either that, or death.
"fragile" human life???? Wow. THEY ARE ADDICTS. How "fragile" are they when they'll steal from anyone to support their habit? How "fragile" are they to turn their backs on everyone who cares for them because their drug of choice trumps all?
I've proven, in my own experience, the only way to save an addict is to leave them with NOTHING and let them decide.
My own kids grew up with the knowledge: if you choose drugs you choose to be ON YOUR OWN - COMPLETELY. Funny, not ONE of them chose drugs. All four of them.
You see, many years ago, I WAS an addict married to an alcoholic. So I'm not talking just to hear myself. I know what it took to make me stand up and realize I had a choice to make. The only thing that stopped me was: me. Not some fancy program, not some whack job of a psychotherapist, not a preacher...just me. I woke up one morning KNOWING if I didn't stop I would either die or lose everything and everyone I loved. (The husband? He chose to remain the same so I walked away - one of the greatest choices of my life!)
I've taken up too much space here. If I've misread into your post, my apologies. I am sorry for your loss.
But, if she was an addict, her act of weakness will give her peace. Peace she could NOT find in addiction. Peace she chose not to have in life.

My parents fell on hard times more than once. They didnt turn to crime. It has nothing to do with whatever party you are, crime is crime. She chose to steal then she chose to die. Plain and simple. Life is full of choices. God bless her family!!!

says: She chose to steal

It says she was accused of stealing not convicted

Thank you for that! What ever happened to innocent until proven guilty.? Whats wrong with these people?

If the GOP hadnt caused the govt shutdown this never would have happened. This womans blood is on every Republicans hands! Obama created a great economy but the GOP ruined it because of GREED, making this poor woman do crime to get by. If you want less suicides in prison you must vote Democrat!

The GOP caused this? You are some kind of an idiot or you were just being a sarcastic jerk which is probably the case. Who in their right mind could think that Obama has created such a good economy?

Liberal idiot, How in God's name did the GOP cause this woman's death...and don't get me started on Obama's great economy, when so many are losing their health care, having to pay for health care the can't afford or face fines...all while being out of work. You are a fool.

I'm pretty sure Jamie was being sarcastic, to show how absurd the liberal mindset is.

This actually sounds like progress! If they don't like the conditions maybe that will have a impact with future decision making when acting as a criminal!
As far as I'm concerned, stark, unpainted walls, a bucket, one 40 watt light bulb, no TV, no workout area and 14 hr work days at hard labor would go a long way for convincing criminals to not come back!
It's working in Maricopa Co. Arizona!