Sheriff defends jail staff's handling of suspect who died in custody

St. Louis County Sheriff Ross Litman says the county jail gave proper care to a shooting suspect who died in custody, despite claims from the suspect's family that jail staff had ignored his medical needs.

Daniel Schlienz, 42, of Grand Marais, was housed in the St. Louis County jail after he was arrested Dec. 15 for allegedly shooting two people in the Cook County courthouse in Grand Marais.

His father and sister said when they visited Schlienz over the Christmas weekend, he was suffering from flu-like symptoms and was asking for extra blankets and cold medicine. They said jail staff did not respond.

Monday evening he was taken to a Duluth hospital, and he died there Tuesday morning.

Sheriff Litman says he's reviewed all the records of Schlienz's stay, and based on his symptoms, Litman believes the prisoner received good care.

According to the Duluth News-Tribune, Schlienz's sister, Bev Wolke, said she was told by the medical examiner's office that Schlienz died from disseminated intravascular coagulation, or abnormal blood-clotting.

"We're concerned about the violation of constitutional rights," Wolke said.

Litman initially told reporters Schlienz had asked for medical attention Sunday night, but after reviewing the records he said the request came on Monday morning.

An official cause of death has not been released, pending more tests.

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