What We Know About Ralkina Jones

Ralkina Jones 
19 Action News

Ralkina Jones.

That is the name of a Cleveland mother who on Sunday became the latest person to mysteriously die while in jail.


The 37-year-old was arrested on Friday following a domestic dispute. Although family visited her on Saturday and attested to her good health at the time, she was found dead in her cell early Sunday morning at a Cleveland Heights jail.

Here’s everything we know so far about Jones.

1. Jones was arrested Friday, July 24, after an alleged altercation with her ex-husband.


Jones reportedly went to a Save-a-Lot and started smashing her ex-husband Brandon Jones’ car with a tire iron. She reportedly broke Brandon Jones’ car window before trying to break in his windshield. According to a police report, she allegedly turned on her ex, striking him on the arm. Shortly after, Ralkina Jones hopped into her vehicle and allegedly came close to running over her ex and a friend who was with him. Her 12-year-old daughter was in the back of the vehicle.

Jones was arrested on charges of assault, domestic violence, endangering a child and criminal mischief and escorted to jail. According to Fusion, records indicate that her ex-husband declined to prosecute.


2. Jones had health problems and was taken to the hospital Saturday, July 25.

After being booked, Jones was reportedly treated for several medical conditions that were documented once she arrived at the jail. According to WOIO, her sisters said that she had health issues, including a brain aneurysm and a heart murmur. She had been given prescription medication at the jail, but on Saturday evening, a jail administrator reportedly noticed that Jones appeared to be lethargic, so she was taken to a hospital, where she was evaluated and treated. She was returned to prison that same day around 10:40 p.m.


At 12:45 a.m. on Sunday, paramedics were called to check her vitals and everything was reported as normal. Jones was reportedly monitored throughout the night during routine jail checks. However, around 7:30 a.m. on Sunday, she was found unresponsive in her cell bed.

3. Officials conducted an autopsy on Monday, July 27, but have not released details.


An autopsy was conducted on Jones’ body on Monday, but the cause of her death has not yet been determined, pending further studies. Officials did reveal, however, that no suspicious injuries were found on the body.

Family members have reportedly tried to get answers from the Cleveland Heights Police Department, to no avail.


“Every time we call, we don’t get an answer, and that’s the upsetting part,” Jones’ sister Renee Ashford told Cleveland.com.

"How do you release someone within two hours from going to an ER room? You know, just in such a hurry to take her back to jail," Ashford said, according to WOIO.  


"If she made a mistake and made the wrong decisions, she doesn't deserve to be neglected, knowing she has health issues," her sister Rita Samuels told WOIO. 

Cleveland.com reports that Ashford visited her sister on Saturday morning to bring her medication. “She was perfectly fine. She didn’t complain of nothing, saying she was hurting or anything,” the grieving sister said.


4. This is not the first time Jones’ family has lost a member who was in police custody.

According to Cleveland.com, Jones’ uncle Craig Bickerstaff was shot and killed by a Cleveland police officer in 2003 during a struggle. According to a report in February of this year by the news site, officers were investigating reports of a man attempting to break into a car. They encountered Bickerstaff, who reportedly went into an apartment building. Officers pursued him and asked him to provide identification and come to the vehicle.


Bickerstaff reportedly obeyed that request but then refused to be patted down and reportedly tried to run away. Officer Raymond Chipgus tried to restrain him, but a struggle ensued. Chipgus’ partner, Antonia Montijo, pulled out her baton and started hitting Bickerstaff. As Chipgus and Bickerstaff continued to struggle, Montijo used her pepper spray on Bickerstaff. At some point during the altercation, Bickerstaff allegedly dragged Chipgus toward a house, throwing something at the building before yelling at someone to come down and help him.

Bickerstaff then headed toward some bushes, with Chipgus hanging on to him. This is when Montijo reportedly noticed that Bickerstaff had a gun. Montijo prepared to draw her weapon, and Chipgus pushed Bickerstaff off him. When Bickerstaff turned, gun in hand, Chipgus shot five times, killing him. The family sued, claiming that officers used excessive force. The city settled with the family for $22,500.

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