Shaye Bear was forced to birth on the floor of a jail cell in Ellis County, Texas, on May 17 because prison guards refused to take her to a hospital.
Bear told WFAA that she was about five months pregnant:
I delivered a one pound two ounce baby in that single cell screaming for hours, begging them to come and help me. The guards would walk by and tell me they wouldn’t do nothing for me until I had that baby in that cell.
The premature baby is now clinging to life at Cook’s Children Medical Center in Fort Worth.
The Texas Rangers are investigating the incident, and refused to comment.
Ellis County Sheriff Charles Edge bragged about the medical care in the jail, but would not say why the pregnant woman was not taken to a hospital:
We have all the records where that mother was treated the entire time she was in here due to her pregnancy.
An unidentified law enforcement official said investigators believe that Bear induced herself to give birth, but provided no proof of that claim:
She made no secret to other inmates in the jail that she didn’t want that baby.
Bear denied that claim:
Hell no. I was trying to force them to take me to the hospital, so they could stop my labor.
Bear was pregnant when she was arrested on a drug charge on March 10; Bear was caged because she could not afford the $5,000 bond.
Bear said she was seen by a doctor on the morning that she gave birth; the doctor reportedly claimed she had an infection.
Bear appeared before a judge the same afternoon seeking a bail reduction.
Bear’s lawyer told the judge that she was in pain, was experiencing contractions and wanted to go to the emergency room.
Bear said she was placed in a single jail cell instead:
The DA asked, for my child’s safety, that I be left incarcerated. I’m guessing from my previous history they were scared that I would have gone back to using drugs.
Bear said that when her contractions intensified, the jailers accused the pregnant woman of faking it.
Bear said her water broke and then “the baby flies out of me and lands on the mat.”
Bear recalled holding the tiny baby, crawling over to the door and again begging jailers for help:
There’s not a person who couldn’t tell me they didn’t hear me screaming, begging, praying.
Eventually Bear and her baby were taken to Baylor Scott and White Medical Center in Waxahachie, Texas, which had to transfer the baby by medical helicopter to Cook’s Hospital.
Ellis County defense attorney Melinda Peel said she received a call from a friend of an inmate saying that Bear had been screaming for two days in pain, which prison guards ignored:
The inmate stated that nobody was able to sleep for the last two nights because Shaye was screaming on and off all night long.
Bear also gave birth 21 months ago at Parkland Hospital; she also has an 8-year-old son.
Bear acknowledged she has a drug problem. For the past four years, she has been in and out of jail on drug charges.
Bear also spent time in a Texas state prison drug treatment program, but most rehab programs are reportedly not held to any medical standards.