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Holding Center inmate dies after Friday suicide attempt

Eileen Buckley
Erie County Holding Center

The Erie County Holding Center inmate who deputies say hanged himself Friday has died at a local hospital. Erie County Legislature Chair April Baskin confirmed the inmate was Robert Ingalsbe.

The Erie County Sheriff’s Office did not immediately return a request for confirmation and comment.


The sheriff’s office had said Saturday that a deputy discovered an inmate with a bed sheet around his neck and hanging from his cell bars early Friday afternoon. Staff performed life-saving measures for nearly 30 minutes and restored a pulse before the inmate was transported to an area hospital for further treatment, according to the sheriff’s office.


The inmate’s warrant was lifted at the request of his family, allowing family members to be with him, the sheriff’s office said Friday.


The sheriff’s office has yet to publicly name Ingalsbe, who had been admitted to the jail Thursday on an outstanding warrant for second-degree robbery, a class C felony. Ingalsbe would have turned 34 over the weekend, according to The Buffalo News.


This marks the second inmate suicide and fourth inmate death at the Erie County Holding Center since July, and the 28th inmate death since Sheriff Timothy Howard took office in 2005.

Baskin called four deaths in less than three months "an obscenity" and "further proof that Sheriff Howard is incapable of managing Erie County’s jail operations."

Baskin said she is requesting Howard, the head physician of Correctional Health and Erie County Mental Health Commissioner Michael Ranney attend the next meeting of the Legislature’s Public Safety Committee "to discuss medical protocols, particularly those relating to suicide and drug withdrawal."

As the 2020 budget process continues, Baskin said she will also be looking at the Sheriff’s requested budget "to see what resources he is seeking to help detainees going through withdrawal from substance dependency."

Tom Dinki joined WBFO in August 2019 to cover issues affecting older adults.
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