WILLIAMSON COUNTY, Tenn. - A Brentwood family is furious after being denied access to their hospitalized teenage son, who attempted to commit suicide while in the Williamson County Jail.
Officials said that 18-year-old Alexander Putala was arrested on auto burglary charges. While in the custody of the Williamson County Jail, Putala tried to hang himself inside his jail cell Wednesday night. Officials with the jail said that Putala was given CPR and transported to Vanderbilt Medical Center for treatment.
Putala's parents said when they received the news about their son's condition they rushed to the hospital, only to be turned away.
"My 18 year old son is there in the emergency room at Vanderbilt in ICU and we are not allowed to see him," said Alexander's father Randall Putala. "We said we're coming down. And he said no, you'll be arrested if you come down here,"
Despite threats of arrested Randall and his wife, Nakita, fought their way in to see their son. The parents, who said that their son suffers from depression, were told by doctors that he was brain dead.
After being with their son for only a few minutes, the couple said security told them they had to leave.
"We had three or four minutes with our son maximum," said Randall Putala.
Alexander's parents went back to visit their son Thursday morning, but were once again turned away.
"We came back with three officers and told us we must leave the property and we were escorted out," said Nakita Putala.
The Williamson County Sheriff's office said that a deputy was assigned to Putala for security reasons and that no visitors were allowed, for security reasons to protect the inmate and staff at the hospital.
"The security concern is he is in our custody and we are responsible for him and his safety," said Sharon Puckett with the Williamson County Sheriff's Department.
The Pulata's said they feel that's ironic considering their son harmed himself while in their jail.
"Our son is basically dead; he's brain dead at this point. They are making a decision about life support and we cannot be there," said Randall.
Late Thursday afternoon, the Pulata's said they were allowed in to see their son.
Vanderbilt University Medical Center staff said that in cases like this, they defer to law enforcement on if patients can have visitors.