Arizona mom waiting to hear why son died in 'praying position' after 'altercation' in Sheriff Joe Arpaio's jail
Sheriff Joe Arpaio of Maricopa County, Arizona speaking at the Tea Party Patriots American Policy Summit in Phoenix, Arizona (Gage Skidmore/Flickr)

An Arizona woman has been waiting nearly four months to find out how -- and why -- her son died in Sheriff Joe Arpaio's jail.


Anthony Singleton was arrested at his mother's home Oct. 21 for failure to appear in court on drug charges, and detectives returned a little over two weeks later to inform Donnie Kramer that her son had died in custody, reported the Phoenix New Times.

"They said they found him in the praying position at his bed, non-responsive," Kramer told the newspaper.

Detectives said her 27-year-old son was hospitalized twice after complaining of stomach pain and blood in his stool, and Kramer's sister -- who was present during the detectives' visit -- said one detail stood out to her.

Sandra La Freniere said the Maricopa County detectives told them Singleton had been involved in an altercation with a detention officer, and he was then transferred from general population at Durango jail to solitary confinement at the Fourth Avenue jail's Special Management Unit.

The controversial Arpaio, who endorsed Donald Trump last month, was found by a federal judge to have racially profiled Latinos and has called for investigations into the circumstances of President Barack Obama's birth.

Kramer shared a photo taken during her son's autopsy that shows multiple abrasions along his hairline on the left side of his forehead, along with another in the center of his forehead and another just below his eye, on the left cheekbone.

Singleton had been ordered to appear in court for possession of heroin, methamphetamine and drug paraphernalia, and he also faced two felony counts for unlawful entry.

Kramer said her son was a heroin addict and had hoped to kick drugs for good when he went back to jail.

Opiate withdrawal is frequently accompanied by abdominal cramping and other painful symptoms, but withdrawal is not typically fatal.

"I knew he was going to be hurting," Kramer told the New Times. "I just didn't know he was going to end up dead."

A spokesman for the sheriff's office told the newspaper that Singleton's death remained under investigation but offered no additional details about the case.

Singleton was the father of three children 8 and younger.