Why did Shaun Coolwell die in custody
Barbara lapsed into unconsciousness in her cell after being locked up for public drunkenness. Hours later, an ambulance was called, but the 29 year old would never wake up.
In 1988, another aunt, Fay Yarrie, became the second ## ## .
Fay was placed in a cell with two other women and left unattended for 40 minutes, during which time she was fatally assaulted by one of her cellmates .
The third was Sonya cousin, Bobby Yarrie, in 1998.
Bobby was only 16 years old when he was found hanging in his cell at the John Oxley Youth Detention Centre.
Sonya older brother, Bradley Coolwell, was the fourth in 2011.
Bradley family describe him as a family man who loved music, especially playing 1960s surf rock hit Wipeout on guitar. Though he some special needs he was non violent, the of the family and a father figure to his many nieces and nephews.
In 1991, Bradley was diagnosed with schizo affective disorder and spent much of the next 20 years in involuntary care at the Park Centre for Mental Health.
A year after his release, in September 2011, police admitted Bradley to Logan Hospital.
A coronial inquest heard he became distressed when nursing staff attempted to replace his pyjamas with tear proof security linen, which can be used by a suicidal patient to form a ligature. Hospital guards restrained him face down, holding his arms behind his back while they removed his clothes.
The coroner found that the 39 year old died from the effects of respiratory and cardiac failure
Four years later, in October 2015, Sonya youngest brother, Shaun Coolwell, became the fifth member of her family to die in custody.
A week after Shaun was released from jail, where he been serving time for property offences, Sonya says his family called an ambulance because he cut his foot in the bathroom.
Paramedics arrived with police officers, who claim Shaun was uncontrollable and incoherent when they arrived. They restrained and handcuffed him while paramedics injected a sedative, midazolam. He lost consciousness and died in hospital hours later, aged 33.
Every death in custody triggers a coronial inquest to examine the cause of death. It a lengthy, complex legal process that many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families struggle to understand.
remember them really trying to get answers, recalls Sonya cousin, Karen Coghill.
had them filling forms out and being interviewed, but we didn really understand what they were doing.
people aren really good at articulating what the systemic issues are.
In Bradley case, the inquest took five years to deliver its findings.
No charges were laid over his death, however the coroner did recommend a review of a section of the Mental Health Act.
The findings of Shaun inquest are yet to be delivered.
These days, Sonya says she and her family are reluctant to call police, or go to the hospital for help. She worries about her children, and the mental scars they carry into their future.
With little communication from the courts, she scans the newspapers regularly for any developments on Shaun coronial inquest.
The frequent news articles about deaths in custody are quick to trigger her own trauma and pain. Aside from her family and her local Aboriginal community, she feels unsupported.
Asked whether she ever be able to heal, she replies: I think we never ever do really. I think it just takes a piece of our heart and when we get to see them again, that restored again.