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Janitress trapped in prison cell for three days after door auto-locked while cleaning

By Brooke Villanueva Published Feb 05, 2023 12:12 pm

A janitress got stuck in a jail cell for three nights after its door automatically closed while she was cleaning.

According to an incident report obtained by TODAY, Libia Vargas De Dinas got trapped at around 9:30 p.m. on Jan. 27 at the Orange County Courthouse in Florida with no access to food or insulin for her diabetes. The 72-year-old was not found immediately because she left her phone outside and the cell is situated on the 23rd floor of the establishment, which is “normally vacant over the weekend.” 

The woman was discovered Monday morning and was given food and water to normalize her blood sugar levels. She had a finger cut, which she got during her failed attempt at opening the door. 

In an interview with an affiliate of NBC News, she said that all she could do was keep her faith strong when she was there. “I prayed to God that he would take care of my health, body, mind, soul, and spirit.” 

The Orange County Government revealed its plans to improve security and its practices after what happened. "Upon hearing of the plight of the janitorial employee, Orange County has mandated that the security company walk every space within the janitorial footprint.” 

The automatic door closer has also been taken out to prevent the same incident from happening again.