Lawsuit filed in death of Roxanna Brown, held at federal detention center
The son of a prominent Asian-antiquities expert who died in a federal detention center in SeaTac last May has filed a lawsuit that claims that federal officers at the center failed to provide the 62-year-old with needed medical care.
Seattle Times staff reporter
The son of a prominent Asian-antiquities expert who died at a federal detention center in SeaTac in May has filed a lawsuit claiming that officers at the center failed to provide her with needed medical care.
The lawsuit says Roxanna Brown became ill at the detention center soon after being arrested on allegations of wire fraud.
An autopsy performed by the King County Medical Examiner's Office found that Brown, 62, died a "natural death" from inflammation and infection of the stomach lining and intestines.
Brown's son, Taweesin Jamie Ngerntongdee, who lives in Thailand, filed the lawsuit in federal court in Seattle.
The U.S. attorney's office had no comment Monday.
The complaint alleges that employees at the detention center continued to deny Brown's pleas for immediate medical care despite the fact that she was vomiting and in great pain.
Brown, who was the director of the Southeast Asian Ceramics Museum at Bangkok University in Thailand, was arrested in May in connection with an investigation into alleged antiquities smuggling and fraud.
She was in her hotel room in Seattle on May 9 preparing for a dinner with colleagues from the University of Washington, where she was scheduled to speak, when federal agents arrested her on a single count of wire fraud.
According to court documents, Brown's was the first arrest in a major federal investigation into alleged illegal trafficking of stolen art.
She allegedly allowed her electronic signature to be used on appraisal forms for art donated to museums. Court documents allege that the appraisals were inflated, allowing donors to claim overstated tax deductions.
Brown began showing signs of illness soon after being arrested, suffering from flulike symptoms so severe she was forced to push back her initial court appearance.
According to the complaint, her condition worsened after a few days, when she began vomiting and complaining of intense pain. Other inmates carried her to the shower to clean herself because she was unable to walk.
About four hours before Brown died on May 14, inmates heard her call for help, causing some to become "so frightened and concerned they began praying for her," the complaint says.
The lawsuit alleges the detention officer who worked the night shift when Brown died told her she would have to wait until morning to be seen.
Brown had lived in Asia since moving there as a war correspondent covering the Vietnam War.
She spent much of her last years living in Thailand, where she oversaw an art museum in Bangkok that is home to artifacts from prehistoric Southeast Asian settlements, along with other ceramic antiquities.
Robert Faturechi: 206-464-2393 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Copyright © 2008 The Seattle Times Company
UPDATE - 09:46 AM
Exxon Mobil wins ruling in Alaska oil spill case
NEW - 7:51 AM
Longview man says he was tortured with hot knife
Sam and Sara Lucchese create handmade pasta out of their kitchen-garage adjacent to their Ballard home. Here, they illustrate the final steps in making pappardelle pasta.
(Courtesy of LeMay — America's Car Museum) New LeMay exhibit to look at NASCAR LeMay — America's Car Museum in Tacoma will look at the wil...
Post a comment