In his distorted mind, Cabral would later recall in an interview, he was transforming into the DC Comics hero Aquaman so he could travel down the drain "to be with my mom."
Willows Police Officer Jason Dahl, who responded to a call for backup, deployed his Taser, delivering seven 5-second shocks to Cabral's chest, police records show. Writhing, Cabral splashed more urine and fecal matter from the toilet. Dahl reloaded and zapped again, then reached for his pepper spray.
"I emptied the entire 4-ounce bottle . . . on Cabral," he wrote that morning in a document later filed in court.
Finally subdued at 3:50 a.m., Cabral was placed in a safety cell lined with a thin layer of hard rubber.
Paranoia raging, he believed he would be raped if he didn't escape, he recalled, and so rammed his head against the wall.
In checks through a slit in the door every 15 minutes, deputies noted his posture. The last entry to record him standing was at 4:31 a.m.
"Laying on floor," "Laying on stomach breathing," "Laying on stomach," subsequent entries in a jail log note. At 5:45 a.m., breakfast was pushed through the opening. Cabral did not rise.
Cabral claims he yelled for help steadily. "If they did answer, they said to 'get up,' " he said.
The first log entry to note Cabral's distress was at 10:11 a.m.: "Laying on stomach/yelling."
At 11:10 a.m.: "alleges paralysis -- 'broken neck.' " Without entering the cell to investigate, the deputy left a voicemail for a nurse, records show.
At noon, as Cabral pleaded for help, they served him lunch.
No one opened the door until the jail nurse arrived at 1:09 p.m. -- more than eight hours after Cabral was last reported standing.
Willows' tiny Glenn Medical Center concluded Cabral was quadriplegic. Three more hours passed before he was taken to Enloe Medical Center in Chico and given medication to reduce spinal cord swelling, according to a legal claim Cabral filed against Glenn County. The county rejected the claim, and Cabral's civil attorney said he is now preparing to file a lawsuit.
His paralysis might have been mitigated by more prompt treatment: Steroids to reduce swelling must generally be given within eight hours of trauma, said Dr. Geoffrey Manley, chief of neurotrauma at San Francisco General Hospital and Medical Center. "Time is critical for the nervous system," he said.
Cabral emerged from surgery "a C6 complete quadriplegic," Dr. Jeffrey Mimbs wrote in a document submitted to the criminal court. He could elevate his arms and flex his elbows, but could not use his hands.
Because of the civil claim alleging negligence, malpractice, battery and civil rights violations, county officials have declined to discuss details of Cabral's stay at the jail. But Glenn County Sheriff Larry Jones conceded that his staff -- whom he notes are "not mental health clinicians" -- are increasingly overwhelmed by inmates in psychiatric crisis.
Just two weeks after Cabral broke his neck in the safety cell, officers repeatedly used a Taser on a mentally ill inmate who was dipping his shredded articles of clothing in toilet water and eating them, according to a Sheriff's Department document. Unlike Butte County, Glenn County has no psychiatric facility, instead leasing beds in Yuba City for $600 a day. Jones has declined to send inmates there because the facility insists that guarding officers check their weapons at the door -- a requirement that Jones said would leave his officers "emasculated."
A recent Glenn County Grand Jury report, while not mentioning Cabral's case specifically, acknowledges inadequate inmate mental health care, spreading blame among the jail, the county Mental Health Department and the hospital, citing several cases in which mentally ill inmates did not receive any care.