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Umi Southworth's death was a tragedy. Her husband, Don Southworth, is charged with her murder. Authorities admitted to mistakes in the original investigation, pointing to the protocols and policy of the police department of Lexington.
A wrongful death lawsuit has been handed down against the city on behalf of Umi's estate.
Police originally found Southworth, beaten and left in the bushes behind her home in Kentucky, last June, according to the Lexington Herald-Leader.
Southworth looked so beaten that investigators had originally thought she was dead. She was lying outside in the rain for five hours while police questioned her husband about the crime, according to Justin Morgan, the attorney for Southworth's estate. The police had full control over the home during that period, reports the Herald-Leader.
It was only after about five hours that the officials from the county coroner's office were able to investigate the scene. Upon access to Southworth, they discovered that she wasn't a corpse - in fact, she was still alive. None of the officers on scene had checked her for vital signs, reports the Lexington Herald-Leader.
Southworth died a day later in a hospital, reports the Herald-Leader.
The wrongful death suit is seeking an unspecified amount of damages, including punitive damages, for lost wages, loss of power to earn money, loss of parental love, affection, companionship and consortium on behalf of Southworth's daughter, Almira Southworth, and pain and suffering for both Umi and her daughter, the Herald-Leader reports.
Loss of consortium in injury or wrongful death suits often arises out of the death of a spouse. The surviving spouse can sue for loss of companionship, and can recover damages for the loss of affection, comfort, companionship, or even sexual relations of a marriage. Of course, since Don Southworth, Umi Southworth's husband, is criminally charged in her murder, he will likely not be a part of the lawsuit at all - and the loss of consortium will be focused on Almira Southworth's loss of her mother.
Umi Southworth's death has resulted in admissions of mistake by Lexington police, resulting in new training and a new policy regarding paramedics at crime scenes, reports the Herald-Leader. But it's too little too late for Umi Southworth and the city of Lexington. The wrongful death suit was only recently filed.
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