LANESBORO, Minn. (KTTC) - A recent COVID-19 outbreak at the Minnesota Correctional Facility in Faribault spread to more than 200 inmates and now one of those inmates has passed away. It would be the first death of an inmate in Minnesota from the virus.
Adrian Raymaar Keys passed away Tuesday at District One Hospital in Faribault. Even before his autopsy has been released, his family has questions.
"This is unbelievable but it's real," said Annette Keys Munger, Adrian's mother.
It began with a phone call.
"I said 'What's going on?'. He said 'Mama, I can't breathe,'" recalls Keys Munger.
Adrian told his mother that he had contracted the coronavirus in early June but nothing was being done to help his condition.
"All they gave was an inhaler and it didn't work," said Annette.
She made calls to the prison yet did not receive any answers.
"We were not contacted nor were our other relatives," said Detrick Keys, Adrian's brother. "As soon as my brother called my mother and told her everything that had happened, they decided to do something about it."
"That night, they took him to the hospital," Annette remembers. "The next day, my son was dead."
What came in the mail the next day was even more shocking. The family received documentation of two positive COVID-19 deaths sent by Adrian himself, including one labeled 'critical result' dated June 10th.
"We can't bring our son back. That will never happen," said Geoffrey Munger, Adrian's stepfather. "He's gone, but we would like to see the investigate and take the precautions to make sure the other inmates are safe from the virus and the ones that have the virus, get the best possible treatment."
Despite the second positive test on the 10th, the Department of Corrections states that his condition did not worsen until the 20th.
Along with his positive test results, Adrian sent his mother a letter and proof of being given the inhaler that did not help his breathing.
"There is no healthcare in prisons," said his stepfather. "It's a joke."
Adrian's family believes he would not have died if properly treated in time.
"He was so huge and healthy," said his mother. "He worked out all the time. He was healthy."
They mourn a loss they say was preventable but cherish Adrian's memory.
"My brother was always an honest truthful man and a stand-up guy," said Detrick.
Even while coping with the loss of her son, Annette finds comfort in sharing his story in the hope that others can be helped.
"He'd be like 'Mama it's going to be alright. You did what I asked you to do,'" she said.
Keys Munger hopes action is taken to prevent COVID-19 deaths among inmates, before it is too late.
"Please, I beg. Please help all the people with this virus," urges Annette.
The Department of Corrections has on its website a list of steps that have been taken to try to prevent coronavirus spread at its facilities, including mandatory mask policies, new handwashing stations and separating inmates.
However, the ACLU and Prison Policy Initiative released a 50 state report this week grading the response to COVID in prisons. Along with several other states, Minnesota received a D-minus, the highest grade given.
The report mentions that although it appears on paper that states are taking precautions, the rampant spread in prisons proves that not enough is being done.