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Relatives of dead inmate sue Grundy County

Relatives of dead inmate sue Grundy County

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GRUNDY CENTER – The family of a Wellsburg man who died in the Grundy County Jail in 2016 is taking the county to court.

Attorneys representing the estate of Jared Martin Slinker allege jail officials didn’t flag Slinker as a suicide risk when he was booked on a contempt charge Jan. 26, 2016.

Within two days, Slinker was found with a bed sheet around his neck hanging from a bunk bed. Jailers didn’t call for an ambulance for 13 minutes after the discovery, according to attorneys for the estate.

Attorney Dave O’Brien of Cedar Rapids filed the suit on Jan. 5 in U.S. District Court in Cedar Rapids. Plaintiffs include Earl Slinker, who is Jared Slinker’s father and the representative of the estate, and Slinker’s three children. Named as defendants are Grundy County and jail officials Tim Wolthoff, Zach Tripp, Shane Oltman and Kirk Dolleslager.

Grundy County Sheriff Rick Penning declined to comment on the suit on Tuesday because it is a pending legal matter. A message for an attorney representing the county wasn’t immediately returned.

According to the suit, Earl Slinker went to Wolthoff, the jail administrator, with concerns about Jared Slinker’s mental health and drug withdrawals Jan. 23, 2016, because Jared had an outstanding warrant, and the father worried about his safety without proper treatment should he be arrested.

Earl Slinker was allegedly told his son should go to jails in Black Hawk or Hardin counties because Grundy County couldn’t provide adequate services, the suit states. A Grundy Center doctor also called the jail with concerns about Jared Slinker, records state.

Tripp arrested Jared Slinker on Jan. 26, and during the booking procedure, Jared Slinker said he was depressed and delusional and was taking an antidepressant, the suit states. He was carrying a book about opiate addiction and said he had been addicted to drugs for about a decade.

Booking paperwork indicated the booking officer didn’t observe any signs of depression, and Jared Slinker wasn’t hearing voices, hallucinating or going through withdrawal, according to the lawsuit. As a result, Jared Slink wasn’t given a mental health referral and wasn’t put under a higher level of supervision.

If jail officials had determined he was a suicide risk, he would have been subject to checks every 15 minutes or less.

On the night of Jared Slinker’s suicide, Oltman was supervising Slinker and one other inmate and also was in charge of dispatch, the suit alleges. He had been working at the jail for less than a month and only had two weeks of training after being told he would have four weeks of training, the suit alleges.

After noticing Jared Slinker with the sheet around his neck around 9 p.m., Oltman radioed Dolleslager and asked if he should call an ambulance and was initially told no, the suit alleges. He was told to call for an ambulance about 13 minutes later, according to the suit.

Jared Slinker was taken to Grundy County Memorial Hospital where he was pronounced dead. An autopsy determined his death was a suicide.

The suit alleges denial of medical care, negligence and loss of consortium for Jared Slinker’s father and children.


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