“She wasn’t feeling good:” Family looking for answers after woman dies in Milwaukee police custody

Ashley Retzer

MILWAUKEE -- Milwaukee police say a woman died while in their custody Friday, September 1st. The family of the woman who died says the 32-year-old leaves behind two children.

Around 12 hours after she was taken into custody at the District 6 building, the woman died in her cell. Family and friends identify her as Ashley Retzer.

"Our daughter... she's taking it hard. She tries to shut herself away and we just encourage her to be with the rest of her family and her cousins, and try to talk about it," said Joseph Orick.

Joseph Orick, Brooklyn

Calling from Adams, Wisconsin, Joseph Orick says he and Retzer share a child together, nine-year-old Brooklyn. He says Retzer was visiting Milwaukee from Adams, when her trip went from bad to worse.

"She was down in Milwaukee with a friend of hers... and he ended up overdosing in the backseat of the vehicle. When Ash[ley] looked over and seen him foaming at the mouth, her and her friend rushed him to the hospital," said Orick.

Milwaukee Police Department District 6

At the hospital, Orick says Retzer's blood was taken but the tests came back clean. She was still arrested for violating her probation.

"And she told the officers she wasn't feeling good, and they came by randomly, I think it was every ten minutes to check on her," Orick said.

Police say during a routine cell check around 12:45 p.m., Retzer was found unresponsive. Lifesaving measures were performed but she was pronounced dead at the scene.

Milwaukee Police Department District 6

"We've got a lot of questions. Her mother's upset, and her father is too," said Orick.

The Milwaukee County investigative team is looking into the death with Greenfield police as the lead agency. Orick says Retzer's parents are also talking to an attorney about launching their own investigation into what happened.

Ashley Retzer

"They're still wondering why she didn't get medical attention as soon as she was incarcerated when she said she wasn't feeling well," said Orick.

Orick says Retzer didn't have any current health problems that he knew of. The family is now waiting on autopsy results.