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Man awaiting trial in bar fight 7th Cook County Jail detainee to die from coronavirus complications

William Sobczyk, 53, had been diagnosed with cancer and was being treated at the jail before he contracted COVID-19.

William Sobczyk booking photo
William Sobczyk, 53, became the seventh Cook County Jail detainee to die from COVID-19-related complications.
Cook County sheriff’s office

A cancer-stricken Arlington Heights man awaiting trial on aggravated battery charges is the seventh Cook County Jail detainee to die from complications related to coronavirus.

William Sobczyk, who died Monday at Stroger Hospital from pneumonia tied to COVID-19, had been held at the Cook County Jail without bail since he was arrested in January 2019 for his alleged involvement in a fight at a Northwest Side bar, according to Cook County officials.

The 53-year-old had been hospitalized since April 18 with a COVID-19 infection, the sheriff’s office said.

Prior to being transferred to Stroger Hospital, Sobczyk was being treated at the jail’s Cermak Health Services for advanced cancer that had spread to his liver, lung, bones and brain, the sheriff’s office said. He also had other health issues, including hypertension, congestive heart failure and coronary artery disease, the sheriff office said.

Sobczyk was due to appear in front of a judge Tuesday for a hearing to reevaluate his bail because of his health issues, according to court records and the sheriff’s office. A previous hearing to review his bail on April 6 did not result in his release.

Sobczyk’s mother told the Sun-Times she wished he was allowed to leave jail, so she could have seen him before he died, but said “his problems” led to him being locked up and said she preferred not to think about it.

Because of his infection, Sobczyk’s mother, who asked not to be identified by name, was not allowed to visit him.

“The day he died, we were able to speak on the phone for about five minutes,” she said Wednesday. “I think it was a comfort. It’s hard because you can’t touch him, you can’t console him.”

Sobczyk’s mother was skeptical of media and officials’ reports on coronavirus-related deaths and believes her son did not have long to live because of his cancer diagnosis. She considers cancer his primary cause of death.

Sobczyk received excellent treatment at Stroger Hospital, she said, thanking hospital staff members for their efforts.

“They were really good, superb. I appreciate the care that they gave to him,” Sobczyk’s mother said. “He’s with his maker now and at peace.”

Sobczyk’s mother declined to speak about her son further, saying the family preferred to keep their grief and recollections of him private. She did, however, add that she had “many wonderful memories” with her son “when he was younger.”

Sobczyk, who most recently lived in Arlington Heights, was born and raised in the Chicago area, his mother said.

Sobczyk was booked into the jail on Jan. 3, 2019 after he was arrested in connection to a 2018 bar fight, the sheriff’s office said. Sobczyk allegedly broke a beer bottle over the head of another patron and then stabbed him in the arm with the bottle. The victim suffered damage to his eyes and hearing, according to Sobczyk’s arrest report.

At the time of his arrest, Sobczyk was on parole for a 2014 aggravated assault in which he punched a 63-year-old man and continued to beat him after he fell to the ground, the sheriff’s office said.