MDC launches investigation after pregnant inmate gives birth, baby dies

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – An internal investigation has been launched after claims surfaced that staff at the Metropolitan Detention Center ignored requests from an inmate to go to the hospital because she believed she was going into labor.

The woman ended up giving birth to the baby in jail but the baby didn’t make it.

According to friends and family of 33-year-old Shawna Tanner, Tanner was nearly eight months pregnant.

KRQE News 13 spoke with a family friend who did not want to be named. “She cried and pleaded on the phone to me that she needed help and needed to get to the hospital,” the friend said.

That was Sunday morning.

“She just kept asking for help,” she said. “She was saying ‘please, please, please I need to see a doctor. Please examine me, I know something is wrong.”

Tanner was on probation when she was arrested nearly two weeks ago and taken to jail after she failed a drug test.

“I know a lot of people are going to try and say ‘well she’s in prison so she’s a bad person,” the friend said. “She shouldn’t have been treated the way she was treated. Nobody should be treated that way.”

The friend said Tanner complained to jail staff all day Sunday that she was cramping and bleeding. Tanner told her friend medical help was on the way to take her to the hospital, but that never happened. According to the friend, Tanner went into labor sometime on Monday and was taken to the infirmary.

Friends and family said the baby had the umbilical cord wrapped around his neck and didn’t survive. Tanner was transported to the hospital after the baby had died.

Tanner’s family also said she has a full time job and volunteers at her church.

MDC staff claims because of medical privacy laws all they could release is that the incident is under investigation. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Users who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

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