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Family Sues Ross County Sheriff After Son Kills Himself In Jail

Ross County Sheriff
Raymond Wambsgans

The family of a man who killed himself in the Ross County Jail has filed a wrongful death case against the sheriff.

The case alleges 20-year-old Scott Coldren told sheriff deputies he would kill himself if they took him into custody. Coldren was arrested in February after he failed to show up to serve a 30-day sentence for fourth-degree misdemeanor drug paraphernalia charges.

The court filing alleges probation, sheriff and corrections officials all failed to provide adequate mental health care despite being warned of his intent to harm himself.

Attorneys for the family say Coldren’s mother also called the sheriff’s office to voice concerns about her son’s mental state. The case claims Ross County Sheriff George Lavender was negligent, failed to provide medical care, and failed to train or supervise officers.

The family is seeking more than $1 million in damages. The sheriff’s office did not respond to a request for comment.

If you or someone you know may be considering suicide, contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 (En Español: 1-888-628-9454; Deaf and Hard of Hearing: 1-800-799-4889) or the Crisis Text Line by texting HOME to 741741.

Nick Evans was a reporter at WOSU's 89.7 NPR News. He spent four years in Tallahassee, Florida covering state government before joining the team at WOSU.