A Salmon woman has died after sustaining injuries while in Lemhi County Sheriff custody on Wednesday.
On Thursday night, her family decided to remove her from life support.
Idaho State Police captain Danny Bundersen said detectives from his agency are investigating what happened when 44-year-old Karri Stephanishen became unresponsive in the back of a Lemhi Sheriff patrol car. She had been on probation at the time of her arrest on Wednesday.
Stephanishen was in intensive care at Eastern Idaho Regional Medical Center on Thursday night.
Lemhi County Sheriff Lynn Bowerman said in a statement that it appeared Stephanishen had used the car’s seat-belt to harm herself.
But on Thursday, Stephanishen’s family said things don’t add up.
Stephanishen’s son, Kayd Veach, 25, left his mom’s side for the first time since Wednesday for an interview with our station.
He said there were some things he needed to say, and some photographs our station needed to see.
He also read the last text message he will ever receive from his mom.
“Life is short,” Veach said, as he read from his cell-phone screen. “Always be thankful cause things can always be worse.”
Veach had to pause to wipe tears from his face.
“I love you always,” he continued. “Don’t sweat the small stuff.”
He said he can’t stop reading the text.
“My mom dies in the back of a cop car from lack of oxygen,” he said. “I just can’t fathom how that happened.”
Veach has been at Eastern Idaho Regional Medical Center with his mom since Wednesday. How she got here, he said, he’ll never understand.
“This is not somebody who wants to kill themselves,” he said. “This is not somebody who was, you know, depressed.”
“This is somebody who’s looking forward to a new chapter in their life.”
In a news release, sheriff Bowerman said Stephanishen was, “taken into custody for possessing methamphetamine.”
According to the release, she was put into a patrol car and, “a short time later officers returned to the patrol car and found the 44-year-old unresponsive.”
“They’re saying that she tried to hurt herself with her hands cuffed,” said Veach.
Veach took photos of his mom. He said her wrists still have handcuff marks. He doesn’t understand how she could have hurt herself.
“There’s no way,” he said.
He just can’t stop reading that final message.
“Forgive, not forget,” he read.