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Families: Department of Justice should investigate inmates' deaths

They were in jail less than 10 days before they were found dead or unresponsive.

ATLANTA -- Relatives and activists took to the federal courthouse in Atlanta on Friday to demand justice for two inmates who died last year in the Rockdale County jail.

Jamie Henry, 40, and Shali Tilson, 22, were in custody less than 10 days before they were found dead or unresponsive in their cells.

The inmates died 76 days apart in the same jail. Both cases are in various stages of investigation. But the families and their attorneys don't believe they are getting answers or justice. At Friday's press conference, attorney Mawali Davis, relatives and a dozen organizations called for the Department of Justice to step in.

“We have over 100 pages evidence that we've provided,” Davis said.

Tilson died after nine days in jail. The Georgia Bureau of Investigation was called in to investigate.

Investigators found Tilson's cause of death to be pulmonary thrombi due to dehydration, essentially blood clots traveled to the lungs. A subdural hemorrhage, or bleeding in the brain usually associated with traumatic brain injury, was also found during the autopsy. However, investigators were unable to say exactly how it happened. No other fractures or injuries were found. The GBI ruled the manner of death as "undetermined", and turned the case over to the district attorney's office.

►RELATED: Inmate dies after being found unresponsive in cell, Rockdale County sheriff says

Jamie Henry died 48 hours after being in jail. In her case, the GBI was not requested to investigate.

“The sheriff believed that he was better suited to investigate the death of Jamie Henry and did not turn that over to the GBI for investigation,” Davis said. “There has been no independent investigation into her death. None at all.”

11Alive has requested a copy of the documents submitted in court. This story will be updated when we receive them.

The Rockdale County Sheriff's Office has not yet commented on these cases.

►MORE: Family speaks out after daughter becomes second inmate to die in Rockdale Co. jail in 90 days

►AND: Rally held Saturday outside Rockdale sheriff's office over inmate deaths

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