MOUNT VERNON, N.Y. – Weeks after she was found dead while in a Mount Vernon Police Department holding cell, questions remain for Raynette Turner ’s family as they continue to seek answers for how the mother of eight died while in custody.
Turner ’s family teamed with select local officials on Wednesday to host a town hall meeting at The Mansion to discuss her July 27 death, and the subsequent investigation, which has remained shrouded in secrecy.
Initial autopsy results that were released earlier this month were inconclusive, and the official cause of Turner ’s death is still unclear, though she had a history of hypertension and had fallen ill the day before she was found dead in her cell. Nine days after her death, Attorney General Eric Schneiderman’s office took over the investigation, and details have been few and far between since.
According to reports , neither Mayor Ernest Davis nor officials within Schneiderman’s office have “told the family anything,” without providing an autopsy report.
“(We’ve gotten) no autopsy report, no ‘what happened,’ no ‘who saw her,’ nothing and we are very upset about what’s going on. Everything is going on around us,” Turner’s sister-in-law Elizabeth Turner-Parles, said. “Everyone is saying stuff, but no one has told us what’s going on so we can decide whether it’s right or not.”
Mount Vernon Deputy Police Commissioner Richard Burke has stated that “no foul play” is suspected in Turner’s death. Mayor Ernest Davis noted that while the investigation into the incident is ongoing, city officials would remain mum on the issue in an effort not to interfere with the Attorney General’s office.
At the rally on Wednesday, Turner’s family expressed displeasure at the course the investigation has taken. Turner-Parles said no one from the mayor’s office or police department have visited Turner’s widower, nor has the family received an explanation about what happened while the victim waited to be arraigned after being arrested on a minor charge the weekend before her death.
“I don’t understand what’s going on as far as the whole case, and I want the residents of Mount Vernon to know that we’re not hearing anything, so if you hear anything that’s going on, we’re not,” she continued. “We have eight children that we have to explain what happened, and we’re only explaining what happened based on the little information we’ve gotten through our attorney, not through the police academy.”
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