PHOENIX (AP) — Investigators in Arizona have cleared a detention officer and police officer accused of sexual assault, and the state attorney general’s office also has declined to pursue criminal charges.
Jorden Marie Simms, 28, had accused a Safford police officer and a detention officer at a Graham County jail of the crimes about a week before falling from a moving police vehicle on Dec. 26, 2019, in what authorities said was an attempt to escape. She later died.
Investigators from the Arizona Department of Public Safety called Simms’ sexual assault allegations “unsubstantiated,” the Arizona Republic reported. The agency interviewed more than 20 people in its investigation.
In its report, DPS said an advocacy center and medical examiner’s office reported no trauma consistent with sexual assault.
Simms’ mother, Deborah Sanchez, said she is still suspicious about the circumstances of her daughter’s death.
“To me, it’s just been one made-up story after another, and it hurts because Jorden, she should be here today, she shouldn’t be gone,” Sanchez said.
The report implied the sheriff’s office was not responsible for Simms’ death, saying she “jumped out of a moving vehicle, causing permanent damage and ultimately leading to her death on Dec. 28, 2019.”
Simms had been arrested on Dec. 21, 2019, on a warrant accusing her of car theft, drug possession and failure to appear in court.
Before being booked into jail, she was taken to a hospital in Sierra Vista for medical attention. There, she said she was sexually assaulted by her arresting officer, according to police records.
Two days later, Simms said a detention officer at the jail sexually assaulted her in retaliation for reporting the first assault.
Simms was sent to an advocacy center for two separate sexual assault exams. While returning to jail from her second exam, she fell from a sheriff’s vehicle that was traveling about 35 miles per hour (56 kilometers per hour). Police said she had used a small bottle of shower gel to slip out of her restraints.
According to her autopsy, Simms had 45 injuries, including fractures to her skull, clavicle and ribs along with brain injuries. She was later taken off life support.