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Story highlights

Jail records appear to show that Sandra Bland said she'd previously attempted suicide

Bland died three days after arrest; authorities say she committed suicide, but family has doubts

(CNN) —  

When it comes to the circumstances leading to Sandra Bland’s death, what we don’t know far outweighs what we do.

And with each passing day, and each new revelation, the picture – instead of coming slowly into focus – appears to turn murkier.

“I have a hard time dealing with inconsistency and that seems to have been the theme over the last couple of days here,” Bland’s sister Sharon Cooper told CNN’s “Erin Burnett OutFront.”

Bland ended up in jail after she allegedly made an improper lane change and was pulled over by Texas state Trooper Brian Encinia on July 10. During the traffic stop, authorities say she was belligerent. Bland was arrested and taken to jail, where she died three days later.

What happens after that has ignited a debate about what the officer could have done versus what he should have done.

How did Bland die? The family is seeking an independent autopsy, dissatisfied with the official version.

The issue: Cause of death

Authorities say there was no foul play. They assert that Bland hanged herself with a trash bag from a metal barrier that separated the bathroom from the rest of her cell. She was found “in her cell not breathing from what appears to be self-inflicted asphyxiation,” according to the Waller County Sheriff’s Office.

Waller County District Attorney Elton Mathis has released some preliminary autopsy results that indicate she had marijuana in her system and cutting scars on her arm.

“There is absolutely no doubt in my mind” that Bland took her own life, Waller County Sheriff R. Glenn Smith said.

Suicide makes no sense to Bland’s family and friends.

Bland was “ecstatic” at the prospect of starting a new job at her alma mater, Prairie View A&M University, in Texas, family attorney Cannon Lambert said.

“Why is it that a 28-year-old woman who had received two job offers take her own life? Why would she call her mom in excitement about those jobs and take her own life?” Lambert asked.

Who was Sandra Bland?

The issue: Her mental state

Jail intake forms released to CNN tell two different stories.

In one section, it indicates that Bland said she tried to kill herself using pills in 2014 after losing a baby. In another section, the answer is “no” to the question: Attempted suicide?

Despite the inconsistencies, the answers should have raised red flags at the jail, according to Philip Holloway, a CNN legal analyst and former prosecutor.