ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. — The 72-year-old woman who was locked inside the Orange County Courthouse for three days last weekend is now planning legal action.
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On the evening of Friday, January 27, Libia Vargas De Dinas was cleaning the courthouse when she walked into a holding cell there and couldn’t get out.
“This was a nightmare for her, and she doesn’t want anybody else to go through something similar,” Vargas De Dinas’ Attorney Bill McAfee said. “It keeps replaying over and over again in her mind.”
Vargas De Dinas, also a diabetic, was stuck inside without her phone, with no food, and just a small amount of water to drink from the top of a toilet.
She remained there until an officer found her the following Monday morning.
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“There was no way for her to unlock it when she was inside,” McAfee said. “She’s pretty traumatized.”
McaFee is representing Vargas De Dinas in a lawsuit he says they plan to file against Allied Universal. They’re the security company tasked with patrolling the courthouse.
A report obtained by Channel 9 news shows the company had officers on duty every day Vargas De Dinas was locked in the cell. McAfee says they’re particularly going after the security company and not Orange County or the cleaning company that employs Vargas De Dinas.
“They have a system, this private security company does,” McAfee explained. “When she entered at 5pm Friday, in order to get keys, she gives them her driver’s license and she signs a log.”
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According to McAfee all of the cleaning crew is supposed to return at 10 p.m. to give the keys back and retrieve their driver’s licenses before signing out.
“Her driver’s license is still sitting there, her log is unsigned,” McAfee explained. “They’ve a system in place. How did they blow through so many stop signs? If they are supposed to go through each floor of the courthouse, there should be a log on each floor that shows they walked this floor at this time.”
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McAfee says they’ll file the lawsuit sometime in the next few weeks, but added there will likely be a civil lawsuit to follow.
“Allied Universal was in charge of that operation, and it’s Allied Universal that should bear the cost,” McAfee said.
Allied Universal has not responded to requests for comment.
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