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A disabled 18-year-old finally has his medication after a week in Tarrant County Jail, mother says

A family Christmas portrait. A mom, dad, and four kids of varying ages sit on a bed with a plaid flannel blanket, surrounded by Christmas decor. They all wear shirts that say "JOY, LOVE, PEACE, FAMILY."
Liz Piñón
Gabriel Piñón, back center, poses for a Christmas portrait with his mom, dad and three little siblings. Gabriel and his mom Liz say he went a week without his medication in the Tarrant County Jail.

An autistic 18-year-old with intellectual and developmental disabilities who went a week without his medication in the Tarrant County Jail has gotten his prescriptions, according to his mother.

Gabriel Piñón was booked on June 8 after he got into a fight at his group home and hit someone in the head with a skateboard, Fort Worth police say. He’s charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, and his bond was set at $5,000.

Gabriel and his mother Liz Piñón told KERA that he didn't get any of the medication he needs behind bars. He relies on multiple prescriptions each day to manage his anxiety and “explosive behaviors,” or meltdowns that can become violent, Liz said.

Gabriel got his medication as of Friday morning, after KERA reported on Gabriel’s situation, Liz said.

The Tarrant County Jail has a history of complaints about medical neglect. Last year, 38-year-old Kelly Masten, who has a severe seizure disorder, didn’t receive her medication and left the jail in a coma, her family said.

Javonte Myers, who also had a seizure disorder, died in his cell after jailers allegedly lied about checking on him in 2020.

The same year, a woman gave birth alone and unattended in her cell, and her baby died.

Advocates say there’s no guarantee that people can get the same prescriptions in jail that they can take in the free world, and state regulations don’t make it clear how long is too long to go without medication.

Gabriel’s initial appearance in court is scheduled for June 23, county records show.

Got a tip? Email Miranda Suarez at You can follow Miranda on Twitter @MirandaRSuarez.

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Miranda Suarez is KERA’s Tarrant County accountability reporter. Before coming to North Texas, she was the Lee Ester News Fellow at Wisconsin Public Radio, where she covered statewide news from the capital city of Madison. Miranda is originally from Massachusetts and started her public radio career at WBUR in Boston.