Problem solvers help a Missouri family get answers about prison deaths

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — When Dasha Goode Simpson’s uncle, Damon Lamont Simpson, died at Algoa Correctional Center in January, it took almost a year to figure out how a 44-year-old man could suddenly drop dead.

It wasn’t until FOX4 Problem Solvers stepped in that Dasha and her family learned the truth about what happened to her uncle behind bars.

“I feel like they expected us to just let it go considering he was in jail and why he was in jail and that’s just not the case,” Dasha said. “Everyone still loves their loved ones even when they are in prison.”

Problem Solvers has requested Damon’s autopsy at least four times, but the Missouri Department of Justice and the Columbia Coroner’s Office have always told us his death is still under investigation.

A FOX4 problem solver investigation over several months As previously revealed, some prison families have had to wait years for answers.

Unable to goad the Missouri Department of Corrections after 10 months of inaction, Problem Solvers turned to State Representative Richard Brown, D-Kansas City, for help.

“I really appreciated the opportunity because I spend a lot of time going to correctional facilities and I have a good relationship with the people in the Department of Corrections,” Brown said.

All it took was an email from the state legislature, and the Correctional Authority cleared the autopsy.

Problem Solvers immediately took it to Dasha.

“Me and my family, we just wanted to know,” she said. “We just wanted to be at peace, and now we can really have that.”

The autopsy revealed that Damon Simpson was found dead in his cell. A doctor ruled he had died of heart failure, citing obesity and COVID-19 as contributing factors to his death.

But the document also shows that the autopsy was performed on February 4 and a toxicology report was issued in March.

So why wasn’t it released to Family or FOX4 Problem Solvers months ago?

The department said in a letter to Brown that “autopsies are being returned to us very slowly and we have no control over the speed at which we get them back.”

It went on to say that the department never received a request for an autopsy from the family, which it firmly denied.

“I emailed them several times, I called,” Dasha said.

Dasha’s uncle, Gerald Simpson, brother of Damon, said he also called the prison several times to inquire about his cause of death and to find out what happened to his brother’s body.

“The morgue didn’t hit me back, nobody hit me back,” he said. “The morgue, I tried to call about his body, ‘Where’s my brother’s body? What happened? Where is he? Was he cremated? What happened?'”

“I want to know.”

With Brown’s help, Problem Solvers learned that Damon Simpson’s body was turned over to a former prison employee whom Damon had listed as his fiancée, a woman the family had never met.

She has refused to tell both FOX4 Problem Solvers and the family what she did with his remains, another heartbreaking roadblock for a grieving family.

You know Damon Simpson was far from perfect, but he was family and you will always love him.

“I wish I could have seen him again,” Dasha said. Problem solvers help a Missouri family get answers about prison deaths

Sarah Y. Kim

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