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Illinois man hangs self in Hillsdale jail, officials say

The Blade, Toledo Ohio, Article published July 23, 2003

HILLSDALE - An Illinois man being held in the Hillsdale County Jail apparently hanged himself in his jail cell Monday soon after his arraignment for a felony child-support charge.

According to the Hillsdale County sheriff's department, corrections officers found Randy Orville Brouse, 33, from Bethalto, Ill., in his cell. After several attempts to revive him, Mr. Brouse was pronounced dead by the Hillsdale County medical examiner at about 3:30 p.m.

Mr. Brouse had been housed in the jail since Friday after being arrested on a felony child support warrant and extradited to Hillsdale County. According to Hillsdale County District Court, he was charged with failure to pay child support and could have been sentenced to four years in prison and fined $2,000. The amount he owed was $5,333.75.

After his arraignment, which was scheduled for 1 p.m., Mr. Brouse was placed back in his cell, which was occupied by another inmate. The sheriff's department said the other inmate was in the cell at the time.

Troopers from the Jonesville post of the Michigan State Police are investigating the incident. The post did not release what Mr. Brouse used to hang himself.

Lt. Ed Hodshire, jail administrator, said Mr. Brouse was being held in a medium-security cell among the jail's general population. The department handled a similar situation in June, 2002, when a Hillsdale man serving nine months on a drug charge hanged himself in his cell.

The lieutenant said the department adheres to state policy that requires a walk-through the jail one time each hour in the general-population area. Cameras also keep track of the jail's inmates, he said.