SAFFORD, Ariz. — The day after Christmas, police say an inmate jumped out of a law enforcement vehicle traveling 35 miles per hour.
The inmate was 28-year-old Jorden Simms, who would die from a series of head injuries police said were caused by her falling out of the car.
How the inmate escaped, or how she fell out of the car is still under investigation by the Department of Public Safety.
According to police, Simms escaped handcuffs, a belly chain and ankle restraints before jumping out the back seat of the police transport vehicle two blocks from the Mt. Graham Regional Medical Center.
“We were almost to the hospital and stuff, and all of a sudden, the door opens. These doors aren’t supposed to open from the inside,” the officer who was driving the transport said on body camera footage obtained by 12 News.
Police found later that the child locks meant to keep inmates from opening their own doors, was engaged on the rear passenger side door, but not the driver side door where Simms sat.
Four months after Simms' death in police custody, 12 News has exclusive details on what happened.
According to documents provided by 12 News, Jorden Simms was being taken to Sierra Vista for a sexual assault exam.
The officers responsible for transporting Simms used a "swing vehicle," as the normal car that would have been used was in the shop.
In the moments after the incident, police on the scene can be heard asking questions.
“She jumped out the back," said Officer Perez, who was one of the two officers transporting Simms.
“She did what?” asked another officer
"She jumped out the back," Perez repeated.
We brought the incident to the attention of former Phoenix Police Commander Jeff Hynes. We first asked how hard it would be to get out of the three restraints.
“Every one of those things is hard, it’s difficult," Hynes said.
“When you have that many variables that lead to a prisoner escaping, jumping out a vehicle and dying? There is going to be a serious examination of what occurred and did it occur as presented."
According to Hynes, it is the law enforcement agency who has custody of an individual to make sure they stay safe and unharmed.
"Serious questions are going to be asked. How did this happen? Were the officers watching? Were they attentive?" Hynes said.
“It doesn’t make any sense,” said Benjamin Taylor, an attorney representing Simms' family. "They seem to not understand why the doors weren’t locked. That’s their job."
Simms' family doesn't believe police.
"They silenced my daughter," Deborah Sanchez, Simms' mom said.
Just five days before Simms fell out of the police transport, Simms accused her arresting officer of sexually assaulting her.
After a record request and demand letter from 12 News' attorneys, the Graham County Sheriff's Office handed over jailhouse interviews and phone calls, where Simms described what happened to her in her own words.
“Please listen to me, I need you now more than ever,” Simms said in a jailhouse phone call to Sanchez.
The call came on December 23, two days after her arrest by Safford Police officer Jeremiah French.
The case started with a shoplifting call. Documents from the Safford Police Department obtained by 12 News say Simms had been previously arrested for shoplifting.
French responded, but no shoplifted items were found. Instead, French wrote he discovered Simms had a warrant for her arrest in Yavapai County.
After her arrest, the documents show Simms complained of stomach pain and was taken to the hospital.
Simms would tell her mother she was sexually assaulted while she was alone in a hospital room with French for up to 30 minutes.
“He just kept telling me, 'It’s going to be OK, it’s going to be OK, just don’t make me look stupid,” Simms said while describing the events during a forensic interview on December 26, just hours before she allegedly jumped out of a police transport.
“He starts just rubbing on my body, on top of my clothes and then he put his hand down farther and in my pants and he starts fingering me,” Simms said.
Simms would then break down during the forensic interview.
“I don’t want to talk about it no more, I don’t want to talk about it no more,” Simms said.
French did not have his body camera on during the arrest, according to reports.
The documents show French made little mention of the hospital visit. His report mentions Simms met with hospital staff, refused medication and was released back into his custody.
Then Officer French would take Simms to the jail.
Video shows Simms tried to make an escape from the jailhouse bay and was wrestled to the ground by French.
"I ran away from the officer that molested me,” Simms said during the forensic interview.
French is on leave and under investigation. His attorney said in a statement that French adamantly denies all allegations against him.
His attorney said the DNA results from a sexual assault exam conducted on Dec. 23 will clear French of wrongdoing.
The exam on December 23 was not provided to 12 News.
After running from the jail, Simms was "red-tagged," which means she was held in solitary confinement, stripped of her clothes and given only a smock and a blanket.
Simms said when she was brought back to jail, she was assaulted again, this time by a female officer.
"She told me to go ahead and report it because 'No one would ever believe you,'” Simms said in a forensic interview.
Jailhouse video shows Simms being taken into a holding room before walking into the shower room with a female officer.
The door shuts, and two minutes later – the door opens again. The officer leaves.
During that time, Simms says the female officer assaulted her. The officer denies any wrongdoing.
The day after Christmas, Simms was taken back to for another sexual assault exam.
The same woman did the exams on Dec. 23 and 26.
The examiner said there was additional bruising but no evidence of sexual assault by the female officer.
But in a phone call, she noted a tear in the genital region had not healed from a previous visit.