|Updated: 6/11/2012 5:46 pm
||Published: 6/11/2012 4:43 pm
CONWAY, AR - According to prosecutors, two former Faulkner County jailers, Michelle O'Kelley and Michael Hirman, wrote in a log book that they'd checked on inmate Tracy Barber in May of 2011 when according to video surveillance they had not.
Barber died in jail that night, hours after being arrested on a drunken or insane criminal charge.
"If they did not check on him, as sick as he was when they took him, because he'd been drinking a lot," said Christie Fowler, Barber's cousin, "there's a possibility they mighta coulda saved him."
Fowler watched as police arrested Barber. She admits Barber was drunk and under the influence of pills -- but that's why the family called law enforcement.
"When they pick someone up," she said, "I don't care who it is or what they've done, when they take them to jail, then it's their responsibility to look out for them and check on them."
Faulkner County Prosecuting Attorney Cody Hiland said there is no way of knowing whether jailers could have prevented Barber's death. He said his office's main concern is protecting the integrity of the investigation into Barber's death.
"In particular," said Hiland, "when it's an investigation involving law enforcement and you alter a public record, it undermines the trust that people have in the system."
Reached by phone, both Michelle O'Kelley and Michael Hirman declined comment for this story.