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Mother files wrongful death lawsuit after daughter dies in Madison County Jail

Rana Schmidt said her daughter, Elissa Lindhorst, 28, was suffering from opiod withdrawal at the time of her death two years ago.

MADISON COUNTY, Illinois — Rana Schmidt has filed a wrongful death lawsuit after her daughter Elissa Lindhorst died while being held in the Madison County Jail on drug charges.

Schmidt said her daughter, 28, was suffering from opioid withdrawal when she was an inmate in February of 2020. She died four days later while still in jail.

“To lose her has been the deepest pain I’ve ever felt, and I’m here to bring awareness to a problem in our society. Instead of sweeping it under the rug," Schmidt said. "I’m here to say her life mattered and no one deserves to die the way Elissa did. She should have been given medical care.”

Schmidt’s attorney, Louis Meyer, said Lindhorst’s health deteriorated rapidly during her jail time and her ongoing health issues were witnessed by guards and other inmates.

“We have filed this federal lawsuit and named all the individuals we find were at fault, who could have done something, who could have prevented this," Meyer said. "We have named the correctional healthcare company, who has contracts with many county jails.”

A 5 On Your Side reporter asked Schmidt what she hopes comes out of the wrongful death lawsuit.

“I want to bring justice to her by making sure this doesn’t happen to anyone else’s child,” she said.

Madison County Sheriff's Dept. Major Jeff Connor said officials cannot comment on pending litigation. Connor said Lindhorst's death was investigated by an independent agency, the Illinois State Police.

5 On Your Side also reached out to Advanced Correctional Healthcare, the organization that provides medical services at the jail. 5 On Your Side will share their responses as soon as we hear from them.

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