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.

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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.