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DA releases report on stillborn birth in Randolph jail

Following is the report by District Attorney Andy Gregson, with help from the State Bureau of Investigation, regarding the stillborn birth of a child to an inmate in the Randolph County Jail:

On Aug. 19, 2021, August Rose Lockhart, while confined in the Randolph County Jail, and being treated for complications with her pregnancy at Randolph Hospital, gave birth to a stillborn child. Because the death of this child occurred while Ms. Lockhart was in custody, the District Attorney conducted an investigation, with the assistance of the NC State Bureau of Investigation. 

The District Attorney has examined extensive inmate records from the RCJ, surveillance video from RCJ, extensive medical records of Ms. Lockhart, and witness interviews conducted by Special Agents of the NC State Bureau of Investigation of Randolph Hospital and Central Carolina Women's Center medical personnel and Ms. Lockhart. 

August Rose Lockhart was arrested and confined in Randolph County Jail (RCJ) on Aug. 4, 2021, on Orders for Arrest for failure to appear in Randolph County Superior Court. Conditions of Release were set by the presiding Superior Court Judge (Honorable James P. Hill) at $46,000 Secured Bond.

Ms. Lockhart was placed in custody for failure to appear on the following pending charges: Misdemeanor possession of marijuana; possession of drug paraphernalia; misdemeanor possession of Schedule IV controlled substance; misdemeanor possession of Schedule Ill controlled substance; possession of drug paraphernalia; felony possession with intent to manufacture/sell/deliver Mmethamphetamines; felony possession of methamphetamine; felony maintain a dwelling/vehicle/place for the controlled substances; misdemeanor breaking or entering; misdemeanor attempted larceny; shoplifting/concealment of goods; felony possession of methamphetamine; misdemeanor possession of drug paraphernalia; misdemeanor possession of Schedule IV controlled substance; felony possession with intent to manufacture/sell/deliver Schedule Ill controlled substances; felony possession of methamphetamine and second degree trespass. 

Initially Ms. Lockhart was housed in COVID quarantine, consistent with RCJ policy. She was moved to general inmate housing in a single cell on Aug. 13. Ms. Lockhart was observed to be about 8 months pregnant. She told RCJ staff that her due date was Oct. 4. During her confinement, Ms. Lockhart was able to leave her assigned cell and enter common areas except for one hour after meals and from 10 p.m. until 6 a.m. 

On Aug. 10, Ms. Lockhart was sent to Central Carolina Women's Center for a routine pregnancy exam. 

On Aug. 12, Ms. Lockhart complained of pain and was transported by ambulance to the Randolph Hospital at about 11: 15 a.m. Her medical records reveal that she was dilated ½ of a centimeter. Both she and the baby were monitored with no problems noted. 

On Aug. 14, Ms. Lockhart complained about her assignment to a single cell and demanded to be moved back to her previous housing. This request was denied because it would expose Ms. Lockhart to newly admitted prisoners who had to be quarantined. 

Ms. Lockhart refused to go back to her assigned cell. Due to her non-compliance, she was placed into a safety restraint chair at about 9:23 a.m. This was accomplished without force being used. 

She was then placed under video surveillance and remained in the chair for approximately 2 hours. The video reveals that the restraints of her legs and waist were very loose. In fact, Ms. Lockhart was able to free her legs from the restraints and is seen in the video moving her legs about. 

The video reveals that she was checked on by RCJ staff and never exhibited any signs of distress and made no medical complaints. Ms. Lockhart eventually agreed to go back to her assigned cell and was allowed to do so. She was removed from the restraint chair and returned to her cell at about 11: 15 a.m. 

On Aug. 15, Ms. Lockhart complained again of pain from contractions and was transported by ambulance to Randolph Hospital at about 2:40 p.m. The medical records indicate that the diagnosis was false labor with 32 weeks of gestation noted and hypertension (high blood pressure). The baby's fetal heartbeat was detected with no problems noted. Ms. Lockhart's doctor ordered a follow up to address the hypertension. She denied being in any pain upon discharge and was released back to Randolph Jail. 

On Aug. 16, Ms. Lockhart was transported to an appointment with her O8/GYN doctor at Central Carolina Women's Center. The medical records indicate she was 1 centimeter dilated and that the baby had a good heartbeat, was moving normally and measuring at 33 weeks. 

RCJ records reveal that on Aug. 18, Ms. Lockhart used the RCJ text system to request services. Her requests dealt with the possibility of her release on house arrest. There were no complaints of medical distress. 

Video footage of Ms. Lockhart was reviewed for her last day of confinement at RCJ, on Aug. 19. She was observed to exit her cell at 6:24 am. She is observed from that time at various places acting normally and interacting with other inmates. 

At 11:47 a.m., she can be seen in the outside exercise yard rubbing her abdomen and rocking back and forth. Ms. Lockhart walks to her cell at 11 :54 a.m. A detention officer is seen going into her cell at 11 :56 a.m and officers enter her cell 7 times before she is taken to the RCJ Nurse at 12:55 p.m. Ms. Lockhart is taken to Randolph Hospital at 1 :41 p.m.

Medical records from Ms. Lockhart's admission on Aug. 19 reveal that soon after being seen in the Maternity Ward, no fetal heartbeat could be detected. One of the attending physicians told investigators that there was no evidence of physical injury to Ms. Lockhart. The physician also told investigators that it appeared the baby had been deceased for a few days. 

Ms. Lockhart delivered her baby stillborn and was discharged from Randolph Hospital on Aug. 21. A physician told investigators that the placenta and baby appeared normal. 

Ms. Lockhart's medical records document upon discharge: "Drug Use Complicating Childbirth; Single Stillbirth; Other Stimulant Use, Unspecified, Uncomplicated; 33 weeks gestation of pregnancy; Other Long Term (Current) Drug Therapy; Personal History of Nicotine Dependence; Anemia of the Puerperium." 

The District Attorney concludes that there is no evidence that the actions of RCJ personnel caused or contributed to the tragic death of Ms. Lockhart's baby in any way. There is no basis for criminal charges. The District Attorney's investigation into this matter is closed.