Rapid City family wonders what happened to their daughter in the Pennington County Jail following her death

The Early evening news on KOTA Territory TV
Published: Dec. 6, 2022 at 6:42 PM CST
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RAPID CITY, S.D. (KOTA) - The death of a young woman who was an inmate at the Pennington County Jail has family and people on social media wondering just what happened to her.

The Pennington County Sheriff’s Office says 20-year-old Abbey Steele was brought to the jail on Nov. 16 around 2:50 p.m. after being arrested on multiple warrants. The sheriff’s office says later that same day say Steele was found with “medical symptoms” and was taken to Monument Health around 8:30 p.m. The Pennington County Sheriff’s Office found out that Steele died on Dec. 2.

The Pennington County Sheriff’s Office said they could not share any more details because the South Dakota Division of Criminal Investigation is now looking into the death.

Social media posts say Steele was found not breathing at the jail and was put on a ventilator at the hospital. Steele’s family is now questioning what happened to Steele, who just had her second child five days before her arrest.

“We did call down to the jail multiple times .. .multiple times and the COs hung up on us every time and we were just wanting to know if she was okay. I don’t understand why we were not informed right away I don’t get it. You know they knew where I lived, they arrested her at my house, they could have come knocking on my door and they could have said ‘your sister is in the hospital,” said Maria Steele, Abbey’s older sister.

Maria Steele said the family’s first call to the jail was around 5 p.m. Nov. 16 with four more calls until Abbey’s mom called the hospital.

Tuesday night, family and about 50 community members gathered in a vigil and prayer-circle for Steele across the street from the Pennington County Jail. People were handed a single-rose and candles to remember the 20-year-old.