From KERA News:
The water fountain in Georgia Kay Baldwin’s jail cell was only inches from her bunk, but authorities suspect she died of dehydration.
Baldwin was in Tarrant County Jail custody, accused of leaving threatening voicemails for an Arlington police officer. When she died, she was living in a single cell at the Lon Evans Corrections Center, a red brick building that takes up a full city block in downtown Fort Worth.
Mental health practitioners who checked on Baldwin found her delusional, according to jail records obtained by KERA. She kept asking for a bus ticket to Arizona and insisted the government was out to kill her.
Baldwin’s mental illness was so severe that, on July 27, 2021, a judge ordered her transfer from jail to a state psychiatric hospital.
County jails in Texas make up the state’s biggest mental health system. Even when an inmate gets ordered to a state psychiatric hospital, the waitlist is thousands of people long, and it can take months or years to get a bed.
Baldwin would never make it to one. On Sept. 14, 2021, staff found Baldwin unresponsive in her cell. A doctor at John Peter Smith Hospital declared her dead an hour later.
Baldwin’s autopsy determined she died of severe hypernatremia, an imbalance of sodium that usually results from dehydration.