Family of woman found dead in Sumter County jail honors her memory at State House

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Published: Sep. 7, 2023 at 11:54 PM EDT
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COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - The family of a Sumter County woman is calling for an investigation after she was found dead in her prison cell.

Hosanna Dinkins, 26, was not at the prison due to any criminal charges but was instead taken to the Sumter Lee Regional Detention Center because of mental health issues.

Dinkins’ family said because there was no room at a local mental health facility she was being housed at the prison.

On Aug. 23, the 26-year-old was found dead in her cell alone.

According to the Sumter County Coroner’s Office, an official cause of death has not been determined yet.

On Thursday at the State House loved ones of Dinkins were joined by members of the Racial Justice Network to call for changes in laws so mental health patients will not be sent to jails and for Dinkin’s death to be properly investigated.

“I miss her so much. I don’t know what to do. I’m trying to hold on. I miss my daughter. We used to be together all the time,” said Dinkins’s father Jose Dinkins.

“We’ve gotten so many calls on the horrible conditions of that facility. So we’re calling for a thorough investigation and we will call until someone answers,” said family spokesperson Benita Robinson.

Community members also spoke out at the press conference to highlight what Hosanna Dinkins meant to them.

“She was one of the best, nice going person you could find and she had the loving, caring, sharing in her heart. We really miss her and someone needs to be responsible for her death,” said community pastor Isaac Holloman.

WIS reached out to Sumter County Sheriff’s Office Detention Center Director Major Patricia Ray about the family’s claims.

“She was sent here for contempt of her probate order and that we were holding her to await that space at the mental hospital,” said Ray.

The family plans to establish the Hosanna Foundation which will focus on mental health issues and the need for behavioral health centers.

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