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Attorney General Joins Investigation Into Mount Vernon Holding Cell Death

Raynette Turner, 42, was found dead in a Mount Vernon Police Department holding cell Monday.
Raynette Turner, 42, was found dead in a Mount Vernon Police Department holding cell Monday. Photo Credit: Contribtued

MOUNT VERNON, N.Y. – The New York State Attorney General’s Office has joined the investigation in Mount Vernon, as authorities seek answers about how a woman died while in a holding cell at the police department.

Raynette Turner, 42 and a mother of 8, was found dead in her cell on Monday afternoon after being arrested over the weekend on misdemeanor shoplifting charges for the third time in several weeks.

Turner, who had a history of hypertension and had undergone bariatric surgery for weight loss, was awaiting arraignment when she fell ill and was pronounced dead on Monday at approximately 3 p.m. She spent time at Montefiore Mount Vernon Hospital Sunday night before being returned to her cell where she died.

As a result, Attorney General Eric Schneiderman has sent a team of investigators to Mount Vernon courtesy of a recent order issued by Gov. Andrew Cuomo that grants him the power to investigate “certain matters involving matters involving the death of an unarmed civilian, in custody or not, caused by a law enforcement officer.”

According to officials from the Attorney General’s office, the probe is to determine whether a full investigation into the death is necessary.

“Members of our Special Investigations and Prosecution Unit are reviewing the matter to determine whether it falls in the parameters of the executive order,” a spokesperson said.

The results of an autopsy from the Westchester County Medical Examiner’s Office to determine the official cause of death is still pending. According to a statement from city officials, Turner “appeared to be sleeping when observed by police personnel.”

Funeral arrangements are still being made, and autopsy results to determine the cause of death are still pending from the Westchester County Medical Examiner’s office.

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