Jaquaree Simmons was a toddler when Tropical Storm Allison hit the Houston area with torrential rains in June 2001. Among the many buildings flooded during the storm was the brand new Harris County Criminal Justice Center, d worth $100 million; the flood forced it to close for nearly a year, delaying trials and lengthening the time defendants languished in the county jail awaiting the disposition of their cases. Neither young Jaquaree nor the adults around him could have known that this event would play a part in creating the appalling conditions that existed in the prison on February 17, 2021, when Simmons was found dead in his cell.
He was 23, a mental patient, the victim of multiple blows to the head he suffered during a historic freeze that left the prison intermittently without power. Authorities ruled his death a homicide.