File Photo – McHenry County Jail in Woodstock | Photo: Google Street View

The McHenry County State’s Attorney’s Office declined to file charges Thursday for an in-custody death of a former inmate, marking the fourth time charges were declined in connection with in-custody deaths of McHenry County Jail prisoners who died in 2023.

In a news release issued Thursday, the McHenry County Sheriff’s Office said they recently received the final investigation of the in-custody death of Colton Sabo by the Major Investigation Assistance Team (MIAT) and reviewed by the McHenry County State’s Attorney’s Office.

After a review of the investigation, the State’s Attorney’s office declined to file charges.

“We’d like to extend our gratitude to the State’s Attorney’s Office, McHenry County Coroner, and members of MIAT for their assistance in completing this matter,” the sheriff’s office said in the release. “McHenry County Sheriff’s Office empathizes with the family and members of our community affected by this loss. The Sheriff’s Office is committed to the health and safety of each inmate and is confident in our Corrections Officers’ ability to maintain a safe environment.”

Sabo, 31, was found unresponsive in his cell on July 28, 2023, and transported to Northwestern Medicine Hospital in McHenry where he was pronounced dead the following day.

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A report from the incident said a corrections officer was conducting his clock tour and discovered Sabo unresponsive sitting on his bunk in his cell.

A “Code 3” request for an AED and paramedics was made by radio and responding officers lowered Sabo to the ground and began chest compressions, the report said.

AED pads were applied but “no shock was advised,” the report said.

Officers continued CPR until paramedics arrived approximately 11 minutes later and took over lifesaving measures.

The final cause of death and manner of death was listed as undetermined, according to the McHenry County Coroner’s Office.

Extensive toxicology testing and vitreous electrolytes were non-contributory to Sabo’s death, McHenry County Coroner Dr. Michael Rein said.

Sabo was diagnosed with anoxic brain injury and cerebral edema while at the hospital.

“This was determined to have no significant cause to Mr. Sabo’s death,” Rein said in January.

Sabo had a history of seizure disorder and polysubstance abuse, the coroner said.

In the case of any inmate death, an investigation by an independent agency is always conducted.

This is the fourth time the state’s attorney’s office has declined to file charges in connection with four in-custody deaths of McHenry County Jail inmates.

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The McHenry County Sheriff’s Office announced in April they received the final investigations of the in-custody inmate deaths of Sean Grendel, Randy Little and Timothy Mumford.

Each investigation was conducted by the Major Investigation Assistance Team (MIAT) and reviewed by the McHenry County State’s Attorney’s Office.

The state’s attorney’s office declined to file charges in each of those cases.

Grendel, 51, of McHenry, died on November 21, 2023, after he was found unresponsive in his cell at the jail.

Grendel was found in a single-occupied cell and corrections officers attempted lifesaving measures and called the Woodstock Fire/Rescue District.

Paramedics took over lifesaving measures, which were unsuccessful, the sheriff’s office said.

On December 3, 2023, an inmate being held for attempted murder after allegedly shooting a rifle at sheriff’s deputies near Harvard in 2022 died while awaiting trial.

Little, 59, of Harvard, had been transported to a hospital from the jail on October 20 due to his health.

Little was then transferred to a hospice care facility on November 13 and remained under guard until his death, which was from a terminal illness.

Mumford, 74, of Johnsburg, was found unresponsive in his cell around 4 p.m. on December 5, 2023.

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Mumford was in a single-occupied booking cell and corrections officers at the jail began performing lifesaving measures on him.

The Woodstock Fire/Rescue District responded and took over lifesaving measures, which were unsuccessful.

Mumford was pronounced dead at the scene, the sheriff’s office said.

The three inmate deaths in a two-week span prompted the sheriff’s office to issue a lengthy statement saying they are “transparent” and “faithfully serve the community, promoting the safety and equal protection of all.”

The sheriff’s office said in their news release the McHenry County Major Investigation Assistance Team is designated to act as the independent agency and details are not released until MIAT, in conjunction with the Coroner’s Office and the State’s Attorney’s Office, concludes the review of the matter.

The Sheriff’s Office receives guidance on best practices through the Illinois Department of Corrections (IDOC) standards and American Correctional Association (ACA) accreditation standards, authorities said.

“This Office has been fully transparent in providing information in conjunction with McHenry County Sheriff’s Office General Orders, policy and procedures, state laws, and the consideration of affected families,” the sheriff’s office said.