A Washington state woman diagnosed with tuberculosis and who repeatedly refused orders to isolate herself was followed as she boarded a bus to a casino and an arrest warrant was issued, according to court documents obtained Wednesday. was found by a police officer who had
Instead of arresting the woman, who was identified solely as VN in documents filed in Pierce County Superior Court, officers released her and a local judge found her disrespectful.
On April 7, Judge Philip K. Sorenson ordered her seizure and treatment against her will, online records show.
Authorities were unable to locate her, a Pierce County Sheriff’s spokesman said in an email.
Tuberculosis that once killed millions of people worldwide But by 2021, that number has dropped to about 7,900 in the US., can be fatal if left untreated. The bacteria that cause tuberculosis are spread through the air when an active person coughs, sneezes, or talks.
It is not clear which casino VN went to or why the officers, who were not identified in the filing, did not take her into custody. Officers were tasked with monitoring the woman and executing the warrant “in a safe manner,” according to a declaration filed with the court by Pierce County Correctional Commissioner Patricia Jackson.
“Police began surveillance shortly after receiving the warrant in March 2023 and observed the suspected defendant leave his home, board a city bus, and arrive at a local casino,” Jackson said.
Officers continued to monitor VN but realized she was not home, Jackson said. VN’s relatives were unresponsive and she told officers to stop monitoring her, Jackson said.
“The defendant is believed to be actively avoiding the execution of the warrant,” Jackson said.
Jackson did not say why officers did not take VN into custody or why she asked her to stop surveillance.
Pierce County Sheriff’s spokesman, Sgt. Darren Moss said his office “does not comment on how we conduct surveillance, when we conduct surveillance, or when we attempt to make an arrest after a person has been detained.”
Moss added that the chief’s proclamation was supposed to be sealed, but it wasn’t.
“By publishing this article, all the news outlets are basically telling the woman to keep avoiding us and letting her know we put surveillance on her.
Sarah Tofflemire, the women’s court-appointed attorney, said she had no information about the case beyond what was contained in the filing.
Sorenson signed an arrest warrant in March, describing it as a last resort after 16 requests by public health officials to drug VN or isolate himself.
The Tacoma-Pearce County Health Department declined to provide information as to why the woman adamantly refused treatment. Washington state lawPublic health officials have the legal authority to seek court orders when a person’s refusal to take a drug poses a threat to the public.
of Previous court filings obtained by The Tacoma News TribuneTofflemire says clients may be refusing to comply because they don’t understand what’s going on.
“She doesn’t acknowledge the existence of her own medical condition,” says Tofflemire, adding, “She was primarily concerned with how she disliked having papers delivered to her home, rather than the importance of the process in which she found herself. I was very focused.