Beltrami County Jail death: 'You don't go in to serve time and leave in a body bag'

Del Shea Perry struggled to find her voice after being so lost and heartbroken over the recent death of her only child, Hardel Sherrell.

“He was full of love. Full of love. Loved to joke a lot,” she said. “The jokester in the family, and just loved life, and he loved his three little girls.”

Perry said Sherrell wasn’t perfect and that he made mistakes that led him to the criminal justice system.

Recently, Sherrell was arrested for domestic violence in St. Paul, which landed him behind bars. It was a violation of a prior conviction in Beltrami County.

So, the 27-year-old was transported up to the jail in Bemidji on Aug. 24.

Now, Perry said she will never get over what happened next.

“You don’t go in to serve time and leave in a body bag,” Perry said. “That doesn’t happen. It’s not supposed to happen.”

According to the family’s account, Sherrell, who was supposedly healthy before his arrest, had called to complain about maltreatment as well as severe back pain while in custody. He had fallen out of bed and soiled himself.

Perry said correctional staff took him to a hospital for treatment, but he was quickly returned to the jail complex.

The Beltrami County Sheriff told Fox 9 that Sherrell died from an unknown medical condition Sunday afternoon after collapsing and becoming unresponsive in the presence of a corrections officer and a medical technician.

An investigation is now underway, but Sherrell’s loved ones insist they know exactly what happened and why.

A local Bemidji newspaper is reporting Sherrell is the third death in the Beltrami County facility in the last three years.

“Inmates need better care,” said Perry. “They need better care. Just because you committed a crime, doesn’t mean they’re monsters. They’re people who made mistakes. My son didn’t deserve to die.”