Family sues after woman kills herself in KPD custody

LIHUE — The family of a woman who committed suicide in a jail cell by eating a metallic thermal blanket is suing the County of Kauai for negligence.

According to a civil complaint filed in Fifth Circuit Court Friday, Leslie Lutao was arrested on July 30, 2017, placed in a holding cell at the Kauai Police Department headquarters in Lihue, and given the metallic blanket she later used to commit suicide.

Police officers gave Leslie Lutao a metallic blanket, “with which she first attempted to strangle herself; then she attempted to suffocate herself by wrapping the blanket around her head; then she ate pieces of the blanket and finally passed out. The blanket blocked her airway and she died of asphyxiation.”

The complaint says KPD officers ignored the video feed of Lutao’s cell for 40 minutes, during which time she survived two suicide attempts before ultimately killing herself.

According to the lawsuit, the monitor showing Lutao in the holding cell “was ignored during the 40 minutes that it took for her to commit suicide,” and the woman’s dead body was not discovered “until more than an hour after she passed out as a result of the continued failure of police officers to view the monitor.”

The lawsuit alleges the county is responsible for Lutao’s death due to the negligence of KPD officers, who gave her the metallic blanket, did not monitor her activity, and then failed to “summon reasonable and appropriate emergency medical care and transportation for her.”

Lutao suffered “great physical and conscious mental pain, suffering, fear, shock, agony and severe emotional and physical distress prior to her death,” the lawsuit says, claiming the county is responsible for compensating her surviving family members — a husband and four children — for “permanent loss of enjoyment of life and the inability to pursue normal activities.”

The suit also asks that the county pay for Lutao’s medical, funeral and burial expenses, as well as any future salary she would have earned had her life not been cut short.

11 Comments
  1. ruthann jones July 31, 2019 4:19 am Reply

    KPD…says it all! Police abuse and neglect to perform duties not news here. By the way, what happened to investigation of Amber Jackson? Or were they busy intimidating elderly women?


  2. Jake July 31, 2019 6:57 am Reply

    I thought 2018 was “The Year of Being a Victim”. SMH

    Soon to be said at Police Stations, “Don’t give her a cup of water. She might drown herself in it”.


  3. Objectivity July 31, 2019 7:01 am Reply

    Enjoyment of life, huh? Good one.


  4. Joe Public July 31, 2019 10:25 am Reply

    Big screw up on this one, even bigger cover up after the fact by KPD…Dig deep, you will be amazed at what you discover.


  5. CommonSenseish July 31, 2019 11:00 am Reply

    Sounds like stupidity runs in the family. If they didn’t give her the blanket she would be suing for being too cold or something. (not saying I back KPD at all, just sayin’).

    Sounds to me like us tax payers have one less person to pay for in those cells.


  6. NewsFeed July 31, 2019 2:27 pm Reply

    News feed- kpd is one of the most incompetent overpaid bum police depts you can come across.

    The county and kpd threatened to sue a news company instead of helping the public find the identity of Kauai serial killer.

    What county and police Dept does that?

    This is one of many coverups by kpd.

    How is the cheating ring investigation going?

    Probably like the KFD gas theft ring, which was an unauthorized use of a county fishing boat I mean rescue boat to fish off of Ni’ihau.

    So now let’s look back into the Lauren Kagawa death, the Koucher death, the suicided deaths, unsolved murders and missing people, and figure out if kpd has any involvement in those cover ups too.

    News feed but is it really!

    The public knows and kpd knows that this is nothing new and soon it will be buried with the rest of the cover ups.


  7. harry oyama July 31, 2019 2:43 pm Reply

    Why is that us taxpayer’s are the ones paying for police stupidity, when it should be those cops responsible for this suicide and they should be paying it. They knew full well that she attempted suicide on two separate ocassions and did not put her on suicide watch, which the family lawyer will point out is standard police procedures.

    Such neglience should be considered and whether or not, police took a lunch or donut break is yet to be established. I guess there are more important things to do for lazy cops.


  8. Sheeples July 31, 2019 8:26 pm Reply

    Being on the wrong side of the one percenter enforcers can mean a death sentence: culling and controlling the 99 percent is an adrenaline fueled exciting adventure for the boys in blue.!! Just remember that when anyone takes your liberties! Make sure you are white and rich, and then call……truf…otherwise take your chances please or risk your life. One followed my neighbor home and pulled a gun on me asking me who I was. Let people trample your so called human right lil
    Sheeples….. censored but truf….., not a proper paper….propaganda for rich people l!!! Hey


  9. vicky July 31, 2019 8:55 pm Reply

    WOW BLAME BLAME BLAME !! THATS ALL PEOPLE ARE GOOD FOR !! WHAT ABOUT THE LESLIE’S FAMILY?? NO ONE SAYS SORRY FOR HER FAMILY, I GUESS NO ONE HAS MENTAL ILLNESS IN THEIR OHANA. ITS SAD THAT SHE HAD TO KILL HERSELF IN JAIL, SHE WOULD HAVE DONE IT ANYWAYS ONEDAY, BUT YES I AGREE KPD YOU MESSED UP BIG TIME ON THIS ONE.


  10. vegas43 August 1, 2019 11:46 am Reply

    Prior to her arrest she already tried to kill herself (OD on pills) why didn’t her family find help for her before she ended up in jail and did it any way. Too bad the family already deleted all the craziness this lady posted on her facebook.


  11. Ida Perez December 7, 2019 5:33 pm Reply

    If this lady was known to have been suicidal KPD is liable and should have had her placed in a cell where she could be observed until she is cleared by a psychiatrist or a psychologist. Actually any time a person is put into a cell they need to be observed for suicidal ideations. CLearly, KPD is responsible for her death by simple negligence.


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