Inmate at county jail commits suicide |

Inmate at county jail commits suicide

Timothy James Schilz Jr., 24, of Parachute, hanged himself with a nylon cord Monday night in a maximum security cell in the Garfield County Jail, according to the Garfield County Sheriff’s Office.Sheriff Lou Vallario said Schilz removed the nylon cord from a laundry bag in his cell. Schilz fed the cord through an air vent, tied it around his neck and hanged himself. A deputy performing half-hour security checks typical for the maximum security cells saw Schilz at his desk writing a letter around 11 p.m. Schilz was found dead around 11:30 p.m.No one with the coroner’s office who could answer questions about Schilz was available late Tuesday afternoon.”Obviously some of the detention staff was shook up,” Vallario said. “They’re concerned. … It’s an interesting relationship where we’re the keepers of the keys, so to speak, but they know these people. They work with these people.”Vallario said a combination of factors including the type of crimes someone’s accused of, previous criminal history and issues with violence are translated to a numeric value to decide whether or not to put someone under maximum security.Schilz was not on any kind of suicide or behavioral watch at the time, according to the sheriff’s office. Vallario said he couldn’t discuss whether or not Schilz had been on those kinds of watches in the past because that’s private mental health information.If somebody were on suicide watch, Vallario said, they would be in the jail’s booking area where they could be under direct visual supervision. Otherwise, the laundry bag with the nylon cord and other items that could potentially be used for suicide are generally provided to inmates. Inmates are guaranteed many of these things, like the ability to correspond with attorneys or family members, by the Constitution, Vallario said.”There has to be some component of trust or agreement or give and take,” Vallario said. “We can’t take everything away from everybody.”Video recorded by security cameras in the jail indicate that a deputy was performing security checks properly, Vallario said. He said everything appeared to be done properly by the jail staff, but this was “just a situation where somebody who had not exhibited any suicidal tendencies just for whatever reason decided that he was done and wanted to end his life. And that’s unfortunate.”The incident is being reviewed by the Garfield County Sheriff’s Office professional standards investigator.Schilz was awaiting a sentence hearing for June 28 for failure to register as a sex offender, according to the Garfield County Combined Courts office. He was also being held on two contempt of court charges, the sheriff’s office said.The last jail suicide was inside the old facility. Until Schilz’s suicide, there had been no suicides or homicides since the new jail began operation in November 2001, Vallario said.

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