A 26-year-old native of Alabama serving time in prison has no recollection of a sexual encounter but finds herself expecting a child soon. Her family suspects she was drugged then violated.
26-year-old Latoni Daniels has been serving time in prison when she mysteriously got pregnant. Now her family is demanding an investigation.
Daniels was charged with capital murder in 2017 for her participation as the getaway driver in the robbery and shooting of 87-year-old Thomas Virgil Chandler. Her then-boyfriend, allegedly fatally shot the man and Daniels assisted in his escape.
After serving 17 months in prison while awaiting her trial, Daniels is days shy of giving birth to her first child, clueless about how she even got pregnant.
“She wasn’t pregnant when she went to jail.”
Her brother, Terrell Ransaw is doing everything he can to find out the circumstances surrounding her pregnancy. “She wasn’t pregnant when she went to jail,” he told AL.com.
The family suspects Daniels was taken advantaged of while under medication. She was reportedly taking legally prescribed sedatives to treat her seizures. This baffled her family who insisted she never suffered from seizures before she was arrested and whisked to Alabama’s Coosa County Jail.
“We believe she was assaulted...She has no memory of any sexual contact whatsoever."
Daniels, who previously served in the Army National Guard, has no recollection of a sexual encounter. According to her civic lawyer, Mickey McDermott, Daniels wasn’t allowed to see visitors in jail and only communicated with friends and family through letters. Sex with inmates was also prohibited in the facility.
It is the belief of Daniel’s family and her lawyer that she was drugged before being violated. Now they want answers. “We believe she was assaulted," McDermott said. “She has no memory of any sexual contact whatsoever." He added that Daniels reported being a victim of an assault but no one is investigating.
“I wish they would give her a chance — let her come home with our family. If other people were given a chance, why not her?”
Ransaw is also hoping Daniels could be released on bail before she gives birth.
“We’ll pay or put up the property, get her an ankle monitor,” he said. “I wish they would give her a chance — let her come home with our family. If other people were given a chance, why not her?”
Since learning of her pregnancy, Daniels was transferred to Talladega County Jail. Meanwhile, her brother is still waiting on word from officials regarding the investigation they’re conducting to find out more about Daniel’s mysterious pregnancy. Coosa County district attorney Jeff Willis refused to comment while the investigation is still ongoing.
“She’s giving birth to a child she didn’t plan to have. Nobody asks to be raped or drugged."
Ransaw just wants justice for his sister he believes isn’t a bad person.
“She’s giving birth to a child she didn’t plan to have. Nobody asks to be raped or drugged. Just because a person is locked up doesn’t mean they’re a bad person or did the crime you say they did.”
He also wants the baby’s father to be accountable even when he assures the child (a boy) will be taken care of. They intend for Daniels’ mother to look after the baby which they still consider a blessing despite the circumstances surrounding his conception.
According to a report by the US Justice Department in 2012, there are more than 200,000 people sexually abused in U.S. detention centers every year. Half of these cases involve prison guards or staff as the aggressors. Only one-tenth of these are investigated and only one percent of prison guards proven to be involved were convicted.
These statistics reflect the sad reality faced by victims of sexual violence in prison. More often, these victims are afraid to speak up because the people responsible are also responsible for their freedom. There's also the stigma that comes with being a convict, often perceived as a liar or untrustworthy.
Daniels is about to give birth and yet there is no real sign of progress in her investigation. Here's hoping her case doesn't become another statistic that empowers sexual violators and weakens the violated.
Daniels is due to give birth in late May. If she’s convicted of the crime she was charged, she may face the death penalty. Daniels is fortunate to have a family who will care for her child in the event of her conviction.
Pending the results of her bail plea, Daniels may also be facing a prison birth. According to Carolyn Sufrin, M.D., Ph.D., lead author of a recent study on pregnant women in prison, "there are no mandatory standards for prenatal and pregnancy care for women in prisons." Thus the safety of both mothers and their babies is not a guarantee.
However, based on the results of the study Sufrin's research team at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine conducted, the majority of prison mothers successfully delivered their babies and there were no cases of maternal deaths. This should provide Daniels and her family assurance that in the event that she gives birth in prison, chances are high she and her baby will be fine.