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Mother Sues Hays County After Son Kills Himself In Jail
A Central Texas mother is suing Hays County after she says officers at the Hays County jail ignored his threats to commit suicide.
The Texas Civil Rights Project and local attorney Mary Cirkiel filed the federal wrongful death lawsuit on behalf of Diana Riley, mother of Eric Dykes.
In 2011, Dykes, 25, hanged himself with a towel and a mesh bag issued by jailers, the lawsuit says. It also alleges officers put him in a cell where he could not be constantly monitored, despite knowing he was severely mentally ill and had threatened suicide.
The Texas Civil Rights Project says during 14-month in the jail, Dykes was denied regular access to mental health care. He was awaiting trial on a theft charge at the time of his death.
“Hays County and the jail guards knew Eric suffered from bipolar disorder,” said Michelle Smith, attorney with the Texas Civil Rights Project, who represents Eric’s mother. “Eric was not receiving proper treatment in the jail, and began acting strangely. The officers were moving him to a solitary cell when Eric screamed he would kill himself if they moved him. They should have put him on suicide watch, but just ignored him instead.”
“Eric just needed help,” explained Diana Riley, Eric’s mother. “My son is no longer here because the jail ignored Eric instead of helping him.”
A Hays County representative says it does not comment on pending litigation.