Woman, 37, dies in Adams County Jail after sent here from Montgomery County

Published 1:37 pm Tuesday, August 29, 2023

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

NATCHEZ  — A 37-year-old woman was found dead Tuesday morning in the Adams County Jail.

Adams County Sheriff Travis Patten said Lacey Handjis, 37, was transported to the Adams County Jail from Montgomery County, where she was held on an “order of commitment.” She arrived about 3 p.m. Monday.

Patten said Handjis had been “acting erratic for the past two weeks in Montgomery County as family there was trying desperately to get her help. After being told in Montgomery County that she could not be committed in Montgomery County because she was not a resident.”

Email newsletter signup

Arrangements were made by the Adams County Chancery Court to transport her to Adams County, in an attempt to get her help, Patten said. He said Handjis was from Adams County originally and has family here.

Patten said Handjis was placed in a padded holding cell that is checked by both guards and deputies during rounds.

“These cells are also under 24-hour surveillance by camera system,” the sheriff said. “Just before breakfast was about to be served at 6:50 a.m., she was found unresponsive by guards making rounds. AMR (ambulance) was called to the scene Handjis had already succumbed.”

The cause of death is unknown at this time. He said no one on staff at the Adams County medical staff administered any medication to Handjis. Patten said new inmates are screened within 48 hours of their arrival by the jail’s medical staff.

Adams County Coroner James Lee was called to the scene and took custody of the body. He said he does not yet know the cause of death or the time of death.

“An autopsy will be performed at the Mississippi State Crime Lab as soon as a date becomes available,” Lee said. He said he has requested the assistance of the Mississippi Bureau of Investigations to review the case.

“Our heart aches for this family,” Patten said. “This is a stark reminder of what I have said time and time again. People who are suffering from mental health conditions do not belong in jail. Mental health consumers belong in a proper facility.”

The majority of inmates from the Adams County Jail have been transported to Concordia Parish because of the condition of the jail. However, Concordia Parish will not take mental health inmates.