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No charges expected in Devils Lake inmate’s death

DEVILS LAKE — No charges are likely to be pressed for the May death of a Devils Lake jail inmate who was found dead in his cell just hours after being jailed.

The death of John Wilke, 42, was attributed to suicide, from a “mixed drug toxicity” from a lethal combination of drugs, Devils Lake Police Detective Sue Schwab said in June.

While the investigation is not officially closed, Ramsey County State’s Attorney Lonnie Olson said charges are not expected.

“In my review of it, I saw no evidence warranting any charges,” he said.

Wilke was discovered unresponsive in his cell during an inmate check on the morning of May 16, about six hours after he had been booked into the Lake Region Law Enforcement Center for detoxification, according to police.

Family members have contended that authorities were informed Wilke was suicidal when an emergency 911 call was made that night, but that he was jailed rather than transported to a medical facility. The correctional center’s detox policy requires a correctional officer to observe the inmate every 15 minutes until the inmate’s blood alcohol content registers zero, Administrator Tom Rime said.

The jail normally has three correctional officers and a sergeant on duty during that time. While one guard had called in sick that shift, there would have been no fewer than two guards and a sergeant on duty, he said. Jail logs and other records have not been released, pending the official completion of the investigation.

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