Suit filed over Canadian County jail inmate’s death

First-degree murder defendant died from flesh-eating disorder

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Lesley Sara Hendrix

By Conrad Dudderar
Staff Writer

EL RENO – The husband of a longtime Canadian County Jail inmate who died in custody is suing the county commissioners, sheriff, jail administrator, and the jail’s medical provider.

El Reno’s Lesley Sara Hendrix, 27, died Oct. 12, 2020, at a hospital after suffering from a flesh-eating disorder called necrotizing fasciitis. She had been an inmate since January 2016 at the Canadian County Jail, 304 N Evans.

Hendrix was charged in Canadian County District Court with first-degree murder in the death of a 23-month-old toddler she had been babysitting in November 2015.

The Oklahoma Medical Examiner’s Office ruled the victim’s cause of death as blunt force trauma to the head.

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Attorneys for Hendrix’s widower, Danny Yelton, filed a wrongful death/negligence lawsuit Sept. 9 in Canadian County District Court.

The plaintiff referred to the Canadian County sheriff’s “deliberate indifference” to Hendrix’s “serious medical needs.”

“There are longstanding, systematic deficiencies in the medical health care provided to those in the jail,” according to the lawsuit. “Sheriff West has known of these deficiencies and the substantial risks to inmates like Hendrix but has failed to take reasonable steps to alleviate those deficiencies and risks.

“Hendrix was not properly assessed for medical needs and conditions upon detention at the jail. Despite Hendrix’s obvious, serious, emergency medical health needs, the defendants and their employees did not transport Hendrix to a hospital, physician or other facility nor did they take any action to provide proper care to Hendrix.”

Neither Canadian County Sheriff Chris West nor Canadian County Commission Chairman Jack Stewart wanted to comment for this story because the litigation is pending.

Hendrix’s trial had been delayed and she was the longest-serving Canadian County Jail inmate ever when she died.

The plaintiff, represented by Tulsa attorneys A. Laurie Koller and Eric Anthony Mareshie, is seeking punitive damages.

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