CHICAGO — The family of a woman who was found dead in a police officer’s RV has filed a wrongful death suit against him, saying he provided her with drugs that led to her death.
Treasure Hendrix, 35, was found dead Aug. 19 in an RV trailer in the 1500 block of South Western Avenue near Douglass Park, police said. Charlie Bell, the man who owned the RV, has since resigned from the Police Department.
Bell has not been charged in connection to Hendrix’s death. An autopsy report found Hendrix died from an accidental drug overdose, though drugs were not found in Bell’s RV. The two had been romantically linked for several years, according to the autopsy report and the lawsuit.
Hendrix’s relatives have said they have unanswered questions about what happened. An autopsy found Hendrix had alcohol, cocaine, fentanyl, meth and MDMA in her system when she died. Her aunt said though Hendrix drank alcohol, she did not use drugs. Hendrix’s fiance said she would use drugs with Bell, according to the autopsy report.
In a lawsuit filed Thursday, relatives allege Bell gave Hendrix the drugs that led to her death, including possibly cocaine, meth, fentanyl and MDMA. It also alleges Bell failed to assess how intoxicated Hendrix was, supplied her with alcohol and didn’t provide care to prevent her death.
“It’s one week before Christmas, and the Hendrix family are missing a very important part of their family,” Gregory Kulis, an attorney representing Cynthia Hendrix, Treasure Hendrix’s mother, said at a Thursday news conference. “She won’t be at the table, she won’t be praying with them.
“And as Cynthia Hendrix said to us, ‘I want justice and I want answers, and I don’t know why I don’t why anyone cannot give me some answers.'”
The family is suing Bell for wrongful death, negligence and for allegedly violating the Drug Dealer Liability Act, which provides a “civil remedy for damages to persons in a community injured as a result of illegal drug use” under Illinois law. The suit asks for more than $100,000 for Cynthia Hendrix on behalf of her daughter’s estate.
Bell could not be reached for comment.
The lawsuit is only against Bell, though Kulis said his firm is investigating the Police Department and other city agencies to determine “if there’s someone else liable for Treasure’s death.”
Hendrix’s family and friends said as they have tried to get more clarity about the circumstances of her death, they have been met with silence from investigators. A Police Department spokesperson previously said “there is an open investigation into the allegations made by” Hendrix’s family.
The family filed the lawsuit following three months of sharing Hendrix’s story on social media, where posts about Hendrix have gone viral. In November, they held a march in her honor that ended in front of the FBI’s headquarters as they demanded answers about her death.
Bell told a detective he met with Hendrix at 2 p.m. Aug. 18 at Parlor Pizza, 108 N. Green St., for food and a few drinks, according to her autopsy report. He said she left at 4 p.m. to meet a friend.
But video from the restaurant shows Hendrix and the former officer arriving at 4:03 p.m. and leaving 41 minutes later, according to the report.
Bell told the investigator Hendrix called him about 9 p.m. the same day, asking to come over, according to the report. Bell agreed, and Hendrix arrived at his RV about 11 p.m., “visibly drunk and high,” he told the detective, according to the report.
Bell told the investigator he lists his home on Airbnb and sleeps in the RV when it’s occupied. He parks the RV in a lot near the Cinespace campus.
A photo of Hendrix’s car shows it arrived about 9:47 p.m. and did not leave, according to the report.
Bell told the investigator he let Hendrix sleep in a back bed of the RV while he slept in another part of the vehicle, according to the report.
Bell woke up about 8:30 a.m. Aug. 19 and found Hendrix “unresponsive,” according to the report. He told the investigator he performed chest compressions on Hendrix until paramedics arrived, but she was pronounced dead at the scene.
Bell told the detective he and Hendrix had been friends for several years and would get together occasionally for drinks, according to the report. He said he had put money into Hendrix’s bank account to help her out, according to the report.
Hendrix had a history of drinking and using narcotics, the former officer told investigators, and he’d had a sexual relationship with her in the past, according to the report.
Bell resigned from the Police Department a few days after Hendrix’s death.
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