72-Year-Old Diabetic Janitor was Accidentally Locked Inside a Holding Cell in the Orange County Courthouse For 3 Nights

Zack Love

A 72-year-old diabetic janitor was doing her regular duties when the holding cell closed behind her on a Friday evening around 9:30 p.m. At the time, she did not have her cell phone with her inside the holding cell, and she was on the 23rd floor, and she was stuck there until Monday without food or insulin. It is a miracle she survived with only water.

Cell doorPhoto byMatthew AnsleyonUnsplash

WESH Channel 2 News reported that 72-year-old janitor Libia Vargas De Dinas is counting her blessings after an ordeal that started on Friday, 3 February 2023.

The Cell Door Automatically Locked Behind a Diabetic Janitor on the 23rd Floor

Libia Vargas De Dinas was cleaning the Orange County courthouse on Friday evening, as she normally does, but something unfortunate happened to her on the 23rd floor. While inside an inmate holding cell, the cell door automatically shut behind her and locked. She quickly realized the gravity of the situation because her cell phone was still outside the cell with her janitorial cart.

She had no way of getting help.

At that moment, she felt great despair, because it was unlikely that anyone would notice that she was locked inside the cell on the 23rd floor. The only possibility of help might come from a contracted security company, Allied Security Services, but they would have to be on the 23rd floor to hear her. There was not a security camera inside this holding cell.

Libia said:

"It was the weekend. No one would go up to the top floor. The 23rd floor." -Libia Vargas De Dinas, janitor at the Orange County Courthouse (Source: WESH Channel 2 News)

She was stuck inside of that cell with only tap water from a faucet to sustain her until someone arrived on Monday. Libia is diabetic, and she had not taken insulin before being locked inside. She tried to stay calm, and rely on her faith. She slept on a bench.

Libia prayed for the strength to survive the weekend.

She told WESH Channel 2 News:

"I prayed to God that he would take care of my health, body, mind, soul and spirit." -Libia Vargas De Dinas, janitor at the Orange County Courthouse (Source: WESH Channel 2 News)

She said:

"My God, I know you are here with me." -Libia Vargas De Dinas, janitor at the Orange County Courthouse (Source: WESH Channel 2 News)

Thankfully, she did make it through the weekend.

On Monday, she went to the hospital and shared her story with WESH Channel 2 News from the hospital bed.

The Courthouse has Made Adjustments so This Can't Happen Again

Orange County CourthousePhoto byWESH Channel 2 News

Orange County has taken steps to ensure this cannot happen again. The security company contracted at the courthouse must walk the same footprint that the janitors work, and the automatic door closer has been removed.

It is comforting to know that faith sustained Libia during the most trying of times.

Please share this article on social media so others can stay informed.


Munoz, Luana. "Diabetic janitor gets locked in Orange County Courthouse for three days." WESH Channel 2 News. 6 Februiary 2023.

Orange County, Florida Government official Facebook page.

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Zack covers interesting and inspiring news stories that impact local communities. He has a bachelor's degree and an MBA.

Huntsville, AL

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