Inmate commits suicide at Garco jail
GLENWOOD SPRINGS 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 sheriff’s office.Garfield County 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 for comment 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 accusations a suspect faces, previous criminal history and issues with violence translate to a numeric value to decide whether 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 Schilz had been on those kinds of watches in the past because that’s private mental health information.
Somebody on suicide watch, Vallario said, would be in the jail’s booking area where he could be under direct visual supervision. Otherwise, the laundry bag with the nylon cord and other items that an inmate could potentially use for suicide are generally available to inmates. The Constitution guarantees many of these things, like the ability to correspond with attorneys or family members, 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 from security cameras in the jail indicate that a deputy was performing security checks properly, Vallario said.
He said the jail staff appeared to be doing everything properly, 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 under review by the Garfield County Sheriff’s Office professional standards investigator.Schilz was awaiting a June 28 sentence hearing for failure to register as a sex offender, according to the Garfield County Combined Courts office. He was also in custody 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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