Clifton – Not much is known about the last couple of hours April Troyn lived in custody at the Bosque County Jail.
The details her sisters are starting to uncover only heighten their suspicions, according to a close family member. They believe that if she was not murdered, she was a victim of foul play.
There are too many inconsistencies in even the simplest details of the story jailers and deputies have told people about finding Ms. Troyn hanging from the bars of her jail cell, clad in torn, bloody lace panties, at 11:15 a.m. on May 4, a blanket wrapped around her neck.
Ms. Troyn's sisters point to the report filed by an emergency medical technician who responded to the emergency call at the jail. She made a note of a glaring inconsistency only a half hour later.
According to Ms. Gregory of North Bosque EMS, when she and her partner arrived at 11:48, they found Ms. Troyn's body lying supine on the floor of the cell, a grey blanket wrapped around her neck.
For the record, she noted that the jailer who found her at 11:15 “cut patient down from the cage and notified supervisor.”
She noted the woman was “pulseless and apneic” - having no heartbeat and not breathing.
Jail staff said they tried chest contractions for a few minutes, but gave up.
An attached cardiogram shows a flat line on heart rate and respiration.
Curiously, however, further on in the report, the EMT noted “Gray blanket is still around patient's neck.”
Though her extremities were showing signs of lividity, a mottled, purple skin tone caused by the settling of blood to lowest point of gravity in a lifeless body, the jailer told her the body was still warm where the blanket was wrapped around her neck. The EMT told the sisters in a private conversation that her limbs “were already hard.”
Though she was an organ donor and was 23 weeks pregnant, ambulance drivers did not transport her body to the hospital.
The last person the family has found who saw Ms. Troyn alive was a fellow inmate who made bail at 9 a.m. She said she was cheerful, and wanting to leave the cell area and go take a shower. The shower room is in another location, remote from the cells where female inmates are housed.
Lividity, which is a function of the body's cooling, is known to appear in as little as 2 hours post mortem in temperate climates, rigor mortis, or stiffening of the limbs, within 12 hours. In tropical climates, lividity may not show for 12 hours.
Despite the fact that Ms. Troyn's sister holds the medical power of attorney in the matter of her estate, she learned that Judge Ray Ballman still refuses to release the autopsy report to her. He insists the matter is still under investigation by Texas Ranger Jim Hatfield.
She said she learned from County Judge Cole Word, who inquired in the offices of the 220th District Judge, that she should be allowed to see the report.
Then there is the matter of the clothing she was wearing when she was found dead. When her body was returned from the Tarrant County Medical Examiner's Office following the post mortem exam, her clothing was bagged. Clifton Funeral Home owner J.B. Darden supplied it to the family.
It included a pair of lace panties that are bloodied and torn. The sisters recognize the clothing. “I bought her that outfit just before she got arrested.” She double-bagged the items and placed them in a safe.
But the jail staff supplied she and her sisters with a completely different set of clothing – all of it one size too small – items they have never seen before.
They have retained an attorney, trial lawyer Jim Dunnam of Waco, and plan to attempt to influence Mr. Dunnam to make a motion to the Justice Court of Judge Ray Ballman to release the autopsy report, to order an exhumation of the body in order to do another autopsy, and release all surveillance video recordings made inside the jail.
“If he won't do it, I'll get another lawyer,” said one of Ms. Troyn's sisters, who requested that she not be named in this news account.
Arrested on May 2 by a Clifton detective, Ms. Troyn had been held in the Bosque County Jail for an abnormally long time. Texas Commission on Jail Standards sanctions call for female inmates to be held no longer than 24 hours in the Meridian lockup due to its substandard design and space capacity to legally house inmates.
Females are to be housed in a location segregated from males as to sight and sound, an impossibility in the building as it is configured.
According to her sisters, Ms. Troyn endured long periods of questioning involving an alleged arson of a rent house at 811 Alpha Place for which her sister Hope and her husband are facing a felony indictment. Two other houses immediately adjacent, all the property of people related to the persons from whom she and her husband rented, have burned since then. Ms. Troyn told them so during phone calls she placed from the jail.
They have obtained a recording of a Clifton detective questioning her about the matter during the time he spent transporting her from the place of her arrest in Clifton to the jail at Meridian.
According to her family, there was a great deal of confusion as to the reason for Ms. Troyn's arrest. She told them she thought she was in jail over not having completely satisfied a court judgment to pay certain fines for not properly securing children in a vehicle she was driving at the time of a single car rollover accident.
At the time of the incident that eventually led to her arrest on May 2, she was detained for 5 hours by Clifton Police who questioned her about the possible abuse or endangerment of her 5-year-old son. A Child Protective Services investigator named Roberta Stevens determined that her child should be released to her custody on that date, Dec. 6, 2012.
The child had appeared at a local fast food restaurant, asking for something to eat. Reached at home in the 500 block of Ave. D, she told police she was unaware of exactly where her son was at that time.
According to an affidavit, it was not the first time it had happened. After reading her rights, Clifton Police Chief Steve Adcock decided to release her from custody. CPS workers devised a care plan for her son. CPS officials released him to her custody.
Much later, in February, Detective Darren Glenn swore an affidavit of probable cause and obtained a warrant for her arrest for the child endangerment offense, but it was not served until May 2, when she was grocery shopping at a local supermarket.
There was another auto accident, according to Ms. Troyn's family, this one having occurred exactly 23 weeks before her arrest on May 2, when she and an on-duty Clifton police officer were riding in a city police car 8 miles outside city limits.
The officer is no longer employed by the City of Clifton.