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Man dies in custody of Lake County Jail, staff faces discipline

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A 32-year-old man died in his cell Thursday morning in the maximum security section of Lake County Jail, resulting in two officers being placed on administration leave and two demoted.

Waukegan paramedics responded at 11:05 a.m. and attempted to revive Edward Robinson III, according to statements from the Lake County sheriff’s and coroner’s offices. Robinson, a Waukegan resident, was taken to Vista East Hospital in Waukegan, where he was pronounced dead.

In the wake of Robinson’s death, Lake County Jail chief Dave Wathen was demoted to deputy chief, and deputy chief Ted Uchiek was demoted to lieutenant, according to the sheriff’s office. A corrections sergeant and a lieutenant officer on the scene Thursday were placed on administration leave and, depending on the investigation into Robinson’s death, could face suspension or termination.

Deputy chief Bill Kinville was promoted to interim chief of the jail, the sheriff’s office said.

Medical staff had checked on Robinson about 6 a.m. and 9 a.m. that morning, the sheriff’s office said. They reported that he seemed fine.

An autopsy performed Tuesday indicated “no signs of trauma relating to his death,” the coroner’s office said. His cause of death has not yet been determined. Toxicology and other further testing were pending.

Robinson had been in custody since July 17 on a felony burglary charge, the sheriff’s office said. He was ruled unfit to stand trial last month and was held in a cell alone pending placement in a treatment program.

The sheriff’s office said he had been placed in the maximum security section of the jail due to “disruptive behavior and threatening harm toward other inmates.”

The Lake County Major Crimes Task Force was investigating the death.