Steamboat Springs There was no indication that an inmate who hanged himself in the Routt County Jail Sunday evening was a suicidal risk, Sheriff John Warner said Monday.
Jared Wayne Maynard, 22, who is now on life support at a Denver hospital, was found hanging from a bed sheet tied to a second floor railing outside his jail cell.
After being discovered at about 6:58 p.m., Maynard was taken to a local hospital and then flown to Denver Health Medical Center, where he is being treated in an intensive care unit. A hospital spokeswoman there said she could not give out Maynard's condition because he was injured in a suicide attempt. However, Undersheriff Dan Taylor said Monday that Maynard was on life support.
"They have him on a respirator," Taylor said. "If he was taken off the respirator, he would expire.
"His condition is somewhat bleak."
The suicide attempt occurred three days after the former Colorado Mountain College student was sentenced to 18 months in the Routt County Jail for stealing an ambulance and assaulting a paramedic in August.
On the same day Maynard was sentenced by District Court Judge Joel S. Thompson, he was evaluated by Steamboat Mental Health Center, Warner said.
"The evaluation was rated low as far as being a danger to himself and others," Warner said.
In fact, Maynard had shown signs of improvement and was socializing with other inmates, the sheriff said.
"His disposition had changed; he went from being solitude and came down and played Monopoly with one of the inmates," Warner said. "He even had a conversation with the inmate, which he hadn't done before."
After his sentencing last Thursday, Maynard refused to leave the courtroom and spat in the face of the supervisor of the Routt County Jail, Lt. Fred Johnston, as Johnston tried to escort him out. He eventually had to be forcibly removed by a handful of officers.
Maynard was seen hanging in Cellblock A of the jail Sunday by Sgt. Gerard Geis, who was in the control room of the facility. The control room faces the jail cells, so Geis could have seen Maynard's suicide attempt. But Warner indicated that Geis would have had to have been looking directly at Maynard to catch him in the act.
As Geis was watching two inmates leave a recreation room, he saw Maynard. At the time, Geis was monitoring 40 inmates in five cellblocks.
Other deputies were responsible for regular cell checks, which are done on a 30-minute schedule. Steamboat Springs Detective Robert DelValle is still gathering information on when the last cell check occurred at Maynard's cell block, he said Monday.
Maynard tied his sheet to a railing outside his cell on the second floor of Cellblock A. The cells are open during the day so inmates can access the commons areas on first and second floors. Next to Maynard's cell, a staircase leads to the first floor.
"He tied some sort of loop at the end of the linen," Warner said. "We are not sure if he jumped from the second floor or walked down the stairs."
The sheriff also is unsure how long Maynard had been hanging before he was seen but believes it was probably "only minutes."
Sheriff's deputies Brandi Bowden, who was booking a prisoner into the jail, and Tony Weiss, who was walking to the dispatch area, rushed to the cellblock to get Maynard down.
Weiss grabbed Maynard while Bowden cut the bed linen with a knife, Warner said.
Maynard was unconscious. He was not breathing and had no heartbeat, Warner said.
The deputies administered cardiopulmonary resuscitation until medics from Steamboat Springs Ambulance arrived. Through their efforts, Maynard was stabilized and then rushed to Yampa Valley Medical Center before being flown to Denver Health Medical Center.
DelValle is leading the investigation into the suicide attempt with the help of two sheriff's investigators, Warner said. The investigative team was put together because of an agreement the sheriff's office has with other law enforcement agencies in Grant, Routt, Moffat and Jackson counties.
"In situations like this, the four counties provide a pool of investigators," Warner said. "Robert DelValle is leading the investigation that started (Sunday) night."
On Monday, the team was examining where the suicide attempt occurred and "medical information that could guide them in the investigation," DelValle said.
Prior to the suicide attempt, two inmates sharing Cellblock A with Maynard left the cellblock to go to the recreation area of the jail.
"Maynard elected to stay in the cell," Warner said.
Maynard's cellmates told investigators they had no indication he was going to try to kill himself, DelValle said.
After Maynard was taken from the jail by ambulance Sunday, the staff members were relieved of duty and were able to go home.
"Our staff is traumatized," Taylor said. "It is tragic."
To help people cope with the incident, officials from Steamboat Mental Health Center are being made available for inmates and employees.
Also because of the incident, the sheriff's office is reviewing its internal operations.
"We are constantly evaluating our policies," Taylor said. "Any time an unfortunate situation happens, you want to make sure we are doing things right."
Maynard's suicide attempt ended a bizarre week for the Houston man.
He was sentenced on Thursday to 18 months for stealing an ambulance and assaulting a paramedic. After the sentencing, he spat in Johnston's face. That meant he was back in court the next day to face a second-degree assault charge.
For the short court proceeding Friday, a black, mesh hood covered Maynard's face and was fastened around his neck. His hands were shackled behind his back.
During Maynard's initial sentencing hearing, his father, William, told the court about his son's struggle with attention deficit disorder, hyperactivity and depression.
The elder Maynard described his son as immature and a man who had a problem with alcohol and drugs.
Maynard's father and his lawyer, Cheryl Hardy-Moore, pleaded for Thompson to sentence Maynard to probation so he could go to a rehabilitation center that included psychiatric care in California.
Maynard was starting to serve his sentence for his actions at CMC in the early morning hours of Aug. 28. He was attending the local college when he jumped into the driver's seat of an ambulance that had responded to the campus in downtown Steamboat Springs.
Paramedic Jeanne Power was in back of the ambulance when Maynard, who was intoxicated, started driving the vehicle. Maynard grabbed Power by the neck and pinned her against the dashboard when she tried to stop him.
Power eventually stopped the ambulance by shifting it into park.
Power was a member of one of two ambulance crews that responded to treat Maynard Sunday.