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Suicide Linked as Cause of Death at Laporte County Jail

Jason Reese

According to LaPorte County Police Chief Deputy Ron Heeg, 26-year old Ryan Hein was recently found dead during a routine security check. The Mishawaka man had a history of using heroin and hung himself inside his cell at the LaPorte County Jail.

The Deputy said jail staff had checked on Hein just 20 minutes prior to his death and he was doing fine. When they returned nearly a half an hour later, he was gone.

Heeg continued to say that offenders considered a threat to themselves or others are placed alone into a padded cell and given a blanket made of either paper or rip-resistant materials. Inmates in a padded cell remain there until cleared by a doctor.

”There were no indications,” Heeg said of the suicide, “he might do something like this.”

According to police, Hein had been in custody on two level six felonies. A hold was also placed on him from authorities in St. Joseph County and a warrant set for his arrest after failing to appear in court on a possession of cocaine charge.


Those who have been killed in jail or prison have had their human rights and personal freedoms stripped from them. In the past decade, over 10,000 inmates have lost their lives in both city and county jails. Many of the deaths are attributed to sickness or disease of some kind, while many others, suicide included, are the result of negligence or abuse from prison guards or other inmates.


  • In 2011, 3,353 men and women lost their lives in state prisons.
  • That same year, the prisoner mortality rate rose to an alarmingly high 254 of every 100,000 inmates.
  • Approximately 35 percent of inmate deaths are the result of suicide. The remainder occurs as the result of inadequate health care, accidents, abuse, or neglect.
  • Between 2000 and 2009, Indiana’s number of jail deaths per year dropped from 21 to 16.

Between 1998 and 2006, civil rights violation cases declined from 17 percent of all federal cases to 13 percent.


  • The majority of civil rights violation cases are over disputes between private parties.
  • Prison conditions must meet health and safety standards in the U.S.
  • From 2000 to 2006, median damage awards to plaintiffs in civil rights trials were between $114,000 and $154,500.
  • The government is responsible for providing medical care to prison inmates.

Whether a death was the result of inadequate or insufficient health care, or abuse or mistreatment of some kind, these men and women did not deserve to lose their lives, and now their families are left to suffer in their absence.

If your loved one has been the victim of a civil rights violation, prison negligence, or jail death, the lawyers at Wagner Reese want to help you bring justice back to you and your family. To contact us for a FREE evaluation please call (888) 204-8440.

Wagner Reese understands that nothing can replace the loved one you have lost, but our legal team can assist you in recovering damages so your family will not be burdened by the stress of financial difficulties on top of the emotional grief with which you are already dealing.


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