A woman who had been diagnosed with tuberculosis and ignored numerous orders to isolate was spotted at a casino by an officer with a warrant for her arrest. Instead of arresting the woman, he let her go.
The local judge found her in contempt and ordered that she be held and treated against her will.
Unfortunately, authorities have been unable to find her.
It wasn’t clear which casino the officer found her at or why he didn’t take her into custody. According to a declaration filed by the court, the officer was asked to surveil the women to execute the warrant “in a safe manner”.
“The officer began surveillance promptly following receipt of the warrant in March 2023 and observed the person they believed to be Respondent leave her residence, get onto a city bus, and arrive at the local casino,” said Patricia Jackson, chief of the Pierce Country Corrections Bureau.
The officer continued to surveil the woman but found she wasn’t at home. Her relatives were unresponsive.
Jackson told the officer to stop surveilling her although it is unclear why she gave him this order. “It is believed that the Respondent is actively avoiding execution,” she said.
Sheriff’s spokesman Sgt. Darren Moss said his office, “won’t comment on how we conduct surveillance, when we do it, or when we will attempt to arrest after that person is in custody.”
Moss also stated that the chief’s declaration was supposed to be sealed but it wasn’t.
“By printing this story all the news agencies are telling the woman to continue avoiding us and tipping her off that we conducted surveillance on her,” he said.
Sarah Tofflemire, a court-appointed lawyer for the women, said she had no information on the incident beyond what was in the filing.
Judge Sorenson signed the arrest warrant last month describing it as a last resort after health officials had asked the woman to take medication or isolate herself 16 times.
The Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department declined to comment on why the woman repeatedly refused treatment. Public health officials have the legal authority to seek a court order when a person’s refusal to get medical help becomes a public threat.
In previous court filings, Tofflemire has said her client may be refusing to comply because she doesn’t understand her condition.
“She has not acknowledged the existence of her medical condition. She is primarily focused on how she dislikes papers coming to her home, and not the import of the process in which she finds herself,” the lawyer stated.
Tuberculosis is a disease that can be fatal if it’s not treated. It can be spread through the air when a person coughs, sneezes, or speaks.