A woman who was arrested and booked on suspicion of murder is accused of passing lethal drugs into a Tennessee prison via a deadly kiss with her inmate boyfriend, authorities said Tuesday.
Over the weekend, Rachal Dollard, 33, of Dickson, was booked on suspicion of second-degree murder and introduction of contraband into a penal facility in connection with the death of Joshua Brown, 30, state officials said.
She was Brown's girlfriend, and in February they "exchanged a kiss during visitation at the Turney Center Industrial Complex," about 65 miles southwest of central Nashville, the Tennessee Correction Department said in a statement.
Brown swallowed a balloon pellet containing half an ounce of methamphetamine and died later of an overdose at a local hospital, the statement said.
He was serving an 11-year sentence on drug charges, with his term set to end in 2029.
"This incident points to the real dangers of introducing contraband into prisons and the consequences that follow,” David Imhof, the director of the Correction Department’s Office of Investigations and Conduct, said in a statement.
“Our agency will pursue prosecution against any individual who threatens the safety and security of our staff, the men and women in our custody, and our facilities.”
Dollard hasn't been assigned an attorney yet, said her mother, Sonia Dollard.
Rachal Dollard had been questioned by investigators about Brown's death, but she was shocked when deputies came to arrest her Saturday, her mother said.
"I'm not sure she thought she was under investigation," Sonia Dollard said.
"She says she didn't do it. She says that's not what happened, that she didn't do it, that she didn't do this. She cared a lot about Josh," Sonia Dollard said. "I wasn't there, so I don't know, but she's denying this happened."
The mother added: "We've all been kind of blindsided by this. It's a tragic, tragic, tragic thing for Josh's family and our family, and we are just praying for God to come into this and help us all through it."