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Custody death of Escondido woman sparks family's calls for answers

Custody death of Escondido woman sparks family's calls for answers
Posted at 4:49 PM, Jul 19, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-20 00:17:47-04

ESCONDIDO, Calif. (KGTV) - Family members are calling for transparency after a 25-year-old North County woman died after being found in her cell at Las Colinas Detention Facility last week.

“I felt like I was in a bad dream. I still do,” said Elizabeth Granillo.

A week later, a grieving sister is in search of answers.

“I want there to be truth. I want them to find out exactly what happened,” said Granillo.

Last Tuesday, Granillo's younger sister, Vianna, was found unresponsive in her cell at Las Colinas Detention Facility, after reportedly being arrested Friday on suspicion of violating a court order. Granillo says the family was told a few details.

“They tried to resuscitate her. They assumed that she had been unresponsive due to a drug overdose, so they gave her Naloxone,” said Granillo.

According to the Sheriff's Department, Vianna was transported to a hospital and passed away the next morning.

Granillo calls her sister, a kind, loving mother who struggled with addiction. Vianna called family after she was arrested.

“My sister had called my mom to bail her out, and she told them she was coming off of fentanyl. She told police she was coming off of it,” said Granillo.

Granillo believes her sister was in a vulnerable state.

“In jail, they’re supposed to be watching you and keeping an eye for you. How are people just dying?“ said Granillo.

Vianna is the 12th person to die in county custody this year, adding to a jail mortality rate that is the highest in the state and on a record pace this year.

In February, a state audit revealed that the Sheriff's Department had failed to adequately prevent inmate deaths.

Officials have adopted new screening methods aimed at identifying inmates vulnerable to drug-related issues and are working to hire more medical staff.

Granillo points out that those measures were not enough to prevent her sister’s death.

The Sheriff's homicide unit is investigating the death, which is standard procedure. The Citizens' Law Enforcement Review Board is also conducting a probe. Both investigations are expected to take several months.

Results from an autopsy conducted last week haven't been released.

Granillo is calling for transparency and accountability.

“I don't want my sister, for everybody to think she's just an addict who died in jail. I want the truth. I want the investigation to show what happened. I want there to just to be some justice for my sister,” said Granillo.

Several Gofundme campaigns have been set up to help family with expenses.

In a statement last week, the Sheriff's Department said:

“Every death is a tragedy and the Sheriff’s Department is sympathetic to Miss Granillo’s family and loved ones. A family liaison officer has been assigned and the family has been notified of her passing.”