NORTH OGDEN -- The family of an inmate found dead in her cell in Utah State Prison in Draper is still receiving letters from inmates questioning how Priscilla Chavez was treated by correctional officials.
Chavez, 29, was found dead Friday morning in her cell in the prison's mental health unit.
Chavez earlier had successfully sued for her rape at the hands of a prison guard. She won a $1.4 million judgment against the guard, and, according to The Associated Press, a $25,000 settlement from the Utah Department of Corrections.
Based on federal court records, she appears to have received little payment on the judgment against the guard.
The family Tuesday had raised a little more than $1,000 toward the cost of a funeral, tentatively scheduled for Oct. 3 and expected to cost more than $6,400, said Priscilla's mother, Irene Chavez, of North Ogden.
Her daughter's body has been released by prison officials and is at Myer's Mortuary.
An account for donations for the funeral has been set up at America First Credit Union under the names Priscilla Elizabeth Chavez and Irene Chavez, said family friend Gloria Greene.
A spokesman for the Unified Police Department, which is investigating Chavez's death, has said autopsy results will take several weeks to compile.
On Tuesday, the department acknowledged the camera for Chavez's cell was active but said the video showed nothing unusual.
But a letter to the family from an inmate said Chavez had a seizure the night she died and had been given 900 milligrams of Thorazine.
The letter, received Tuesday, said the information came from another inmate who was in the mental health unit, but did not detail how the inmate could have known such detail about an inmate alone in a cell, as Chavez was.
Irene Chavez said Randy Phillips, the Ogden lawyer who successfully brought the rape lawsuit in federal court, told the family he would be visiting the prison and viewing the video as part of his own investigation.
Phillips was not available for comment.
The inmate wrote in her letter to the family that "Cilla" had been her best friend since third grade in Ogden.
"She was on so many meds she had a seizure so they took her to the infirmary for that day then at 10 p.m. they brought her back and ... she was crying half the night," referring to the night preceding the morning Priscilla was found dead.
The inmate in the letter, as well as Priscilla's sister Francine and father Robert, both of whom have spent time in the correctional system, said normal prison policy in a death is to shut the unit down, returning all inmates to their cells, which they said wasn't followed in this case.
Francine Chavez had spent time in the prison with her sister and on Tuesday said, with a felony theft charge pending in the Ogden courts, she expects to be going back.
"It should be a conflict of interest for me to be in that same prison where they killed my sister," she said.
The family has said they believe Priscilla Chavez's death is the result of retaliation or neglect because of the lawsuit over the rape case and a long history of fighting with police officers.