“Doesn’t make sense:” Widow, son demand answers after inmate dies at HOC

Milwaukee County House of Correction

FRANKLIN -- After an inmate died Sunday, April 30th at the House of Correction, his widow said she's desperate to know what killed him.

Relatives said LaRance McMorris was set to be released from the HOC in June. Over the weekend, he indicated he was feeling ill, but the family has no idea whether that ailment is what killed him.

"I need answers. I need to find out what happened," Bonnie Lewis, McMorris' widow said.

Bonnie Lewis

Lewis said she married McMorris in July of 2016. When they spoke on the phone on Friday, March 28th, she said her husband indicated he was feeling a bit ill.

"He felt like he was getting ready to get a cold. Saturday, I spoke with him like two to three times and I guess the cold had blossomed, if you will," Lewis said.

Lewis said her husband made it seem like it was an ordinary cold, and she felt there was no need to worry.

LaRance McMorris

"He told me he was gonna give me a call on Sunday. Well, instead of him calling me, I get a phone call from the House of Correction telling me that my husband was deceased," Lewis said.

According to an email to the Milwaukee County Board of Supervisors, obtained by FOX6 News, the HOC superintendent said McMorris was found unconscious on Sunday night. They rushed him to the hospital, but he did not make it.

Franklin police are now handling the investigation into McMorris' death.

In a statement Tuesday, May 2nd, a spokeswoman for Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele's office said:

"Our hearts go out to the family. We believe they and the public deserve to know what happened, which is why we're ensuring there's a thorough, independent investigation."

"If they're in your custody, they are now your responsibility, just like children -- so give these children what they need," Aldred Watson, McMorris' son said.

Aldred Watson

Court records show McMorris was convicted of seven felonies between 1982 and 2011. Most of the case details are not accessible online.

The family said McMorris had six months left of extended supervision, and opted to serve that time behind bars because he didn't want to deal with probation rules. They said he was due for release in June.

"It doesn't make any sense. They could be here today and they could be gone tomorrow," Lewis said.

LaRance McMorris

The county executive's office oversees the HOC, while the Milwaukee County Sheriff's Office oversees the Milwaukee County Jail.

Officials with the Milwaukee County Medical Examiner's Office confirmed it is handling the case of LaRance McMorris, but they couldn't say anything else because the case is on non-disclosure.