A 44-year-old woman who died in jail last spring four days after Wake sheriff’s deputies arrested her on meth-manufacturing charges died of complications from the withdrawal of drugs, the sheriff’s office said Tuesday.
The State Medical Examiner’s Office ruled that Cecilia Lynn Sypka died of “complications of withdrawal due to: Chronic substance abuse,” the sheriff’s office said.
Sypka’s sister, Debbie Rivera, who still lives in their native Arizona, said information the medical examiner sent her indicated Sypka died of dehydration from vomiting and diarrhea that began after was confined to the Wake County Detention Center the night of April 24. Sypka was being held in lieu of $300,000 bail.
Sypka had been addicted to drugs for several years, said Rivera, and also was dependent on pain-killers she was prescribed after she was burned in a car crash.
“The only thing I can wrap my head around is that they ignored her,” Rivera said of Sypka’s condition.
Richard Johnson, the sheriff'’s office chief of operations, said Tuesday that jail staff had noted Sypka’s illness and that a nurse was with her when she collapsed in her cell on the evening of April 28. Paramedics took her to WakeMed Raleigh hospital, where she died.
Sypka, 29-year-old Christopher Lee Sandy and 28-year-old Robbie Winnen Dyson II were arrested at 906 Sandy Lane on charges of making methamphetamine, having chemicals used to make meth and using the house off Old Stage Road as a manufacturing facility.
Sandy and Sypka also were charged with meth possession.
Sandy remains in jail under $325,000 bail and has a court appearance scheduled Oct. 2. Dyson was freed on bail and has a court appearance Sept. 30 on the drug charges from April.
County tax records show the one-story house is owned by Gladys D. Sandy and Eugene P. Dyson Jr. Rivera, who lives in Glendale, Ariz., said her sister had befriended Gladys Sandy.
Rivera said she and her sister had both engaged in “mild drug abuse” in their youths, but that her sister had had a drug-free decade after moving to North Carolina.
At some point, however, Sypka returned to drug abuse and later had the accident in which she was burned, her sister said.
A doctor told the family that Sypka would “never be able to be taken off pain-killers” because of the burns, Rivera said.
Illness from drug withdrawal is “what I thought from the very beginning,” Rivera said. She said she wants to know “why my little sister did not get any help.”