It's not uncommon for inmates to be taken out of jail, typically for a court appearance and sometimes for a doctor visit. But should a murder suspect who can't even bond out of jail be taken out for a trip to the bank?
We have video from June 5 from the Stoddard County jail that shows murder suspect Victoria Isaac signing a release form, being placed in handcuffs, then being taken out of the building, an armed deputy at her side.
"From being in criminal justice most of my adult life, I wanted to make sure she was taken care of," said Isaac's younger sister Betty Taylor.
A former police chief and now a criminal justice professor, Taylor said she's been in daily contact with the jail since Isaac's arrest. During a phone call with her sister on June 8, Taylor learned about Isaac's trip outside these walls.
"She had called me and told me she had taken several hundred dollars on her account and placed it on her books for her son", she recalled. The decision to take Isaac to this ATM a half mile away shocked her.
"I was thinking of my sister's safety plus the officers too", she said. "I would have never put my own officers in that precarious situation."
We went to see Stoddard County Sheriff Carl Hefner about taking Isaac out of jail given her status as, quoting her case file, "a danger to herself and the community."
"No, we didn't feel there was a threat with that," Hefner said of the decision. "We had an experienced officer, a deputy 15 years on the force."
That veteran deputy is Sergeant Andy Holden.
"I felt that I was at no greater risk than taking any other inmate anywhere, to the doctor, to the bank," Holden said. "We take precautions to minimize those risks."
While the Sheriff said bank trips are not common, they have happened with other inmates. And, he said, Isaacs' need for medication and medical attention played a role in the decision.
We wanted to know, if she didn't have money on her account, who would pay those bills?
"If the money wasn't on her account, the taxpayers would be paying this bill", he replied.
But, Taylor isn't only upset about the ATM trip. She showed us this letter from her sister dated June 8 where Victoria writes of the money: "I want to release that to Kenny." We learned Kenny is her son.
"She says she was taken out of the jail. And they said that was the only way she could get money to her family," Taylor recalled.
The Sheriff recalled a much different conversation with Isaac.
"We made sure she understood that once she took the money out of the ATM and put it on her inmate account, that the money had to stay there," Hefner said. "And she said she agreed with that."
The second discrepancy comes from a phone call Taylor recorded between herself and Sheriff Hefner where she asked about the ATM trip.
Betty Taylor: She doesn't even have a bond. I don't even know why she was released out of the jail.
Sheriff Hefner: She wasn't released she was in the custody of two officers.
Hefner acknowledged the call, and the fact that just one officer who took Isaac to the bank, not two like he told Taylor. We asked him why he thinks Isaac's bank trip became an issue with her family.
"It seems like for some odd reason, the family wanted their hands on that ATM card really bad," he said.
For her part, Betty Taylor is concerned about her sister's continued stay behind these walls.
"I don't know if they have the training or the knowledge to understand how to deal with this type of prisoner," she said. "I don't know. I mean, from what I've seen, I haven't seen professionalism."
Sheriff Hefner said the jail does make a small profit on the items inmates can buy with their commissary money, which is used to cover jail expenses.
Victoria Issac is accused of shooting her husband, Christopher, to death back in May. She'll be back in court at the end of July.
Meantime, her sister, Betty Taylor, said she plans to seek legal counsel referencing her sister's continued stay in the Stoddard County Jail.
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