Vermilion man dies at Erie County jail

(UPDATED WITH PDF, VIDEO) Another inmate has died at the Erie County jail, this time a 47-year-old man from Vermilion.
Emil Whitis
Feb 8, 2012


(UPDATED WITH PDF, VIDEO)  Another inmate has died at the Erie County jail, this time a 47-year-old man from Vermilion.

Corrections officers checked on Robert Baswell Jr. at 2:45 a.m. Tuesday and found him to be OK in his cell. Then at 2:50 a.m., he was found blue and unresponsive. Paramedics arrived at 3:05 a.m. and could not revive Baswell. He was pronounced dead.

Deputies say Baswell had a number of medical problems since being booked into the jail in October on charges of robbery, possessing criminal tools and theft.

After falling in the shower on Jan. 25, Baswell began to act erratically. Deputies took him to the hospital four times since then. His treatment included two CAT scans, one at NOMS and one at Firelands Regional Medical Center. Each time doctors said they found nothing that would warrant them admitting Baswell for treatment. He was released each time back to the jail.

Baswell's cause of death is pending an autopsy.

He is the second person to die in the jail in recent months. Margaret Stallard, 50, of Sandusky, was pronounced dead in her jail cell at about 9 a.m. Jan. 1, five hours after she was admitted to the facility.

Police arrested Stallard for disorderly conduct while intoxicated after responding to a vehicle break-in on Kevin Drive. Stallard came into the jail in a highly intoxicated state. While autopsy chemical tests are still pending, preliminary information seems to point to a combination of alcohol and pills as the cause of Stallard's death.

Read more about this story in Wednesday's Register. Also, click on the PDF below to read the jail reports detailing Baswell's medical treatment and Tuesday's death.



Whoops! When it's your time it's your time!


While not condoning the criminal acts that put this guy there.......................It's pretty sad that after two cat scans, Doctors couldn't find any reason to admit this guy. Perhaps they were giving him meds for his condition and he stashed enough to O.D....................It's starting to look like Death Row has moved from Lucasville to Erie County. What could have happened to him from 2:45 a.m. and 2:50 a.m.??????


@NINEmm- What could have happened to him from 2:45 a.m. and 2:50 a.m.??????


Truth or Dare

If I were his family, I would request an independent autopsy be done by a properly trained Forensic Pathologist.    Please watch PBS's broadcast of Frontline's 2011 Documentary "Post Mortem". 



 Sad to hear about this, I hope the SR dosn't try to do their typical accusations against the Sherriffs Office, they did all they could before and after the problem arose. I am saddened for his family and friends, I learned about this earlier today and my first thought is how is the SR going to respond. Be Respectful SR for both parties and I will respect you. 


He would not have slipped in a bath house.


 They took him to  Firelands Regional Medical Center - that says it all!!  

Local Resident


So glad that I am not the only one who thinks that :)

american man

my only question is he was found unresponsive and blue at 2:50am why did it take perkins squad til 3:05am to get on the scene thats 15 minutes.  they are only 1 minute away on campbell st. lots of questions if i was his family


to extion''''' right you are, and that goes for NOMS too


Maybe there needs to be different jail procedures when someone is admitted to jail under the influence of pills an alcohol, some kind of strict medical monitoring has to be in place.   Having two people die in the same jail facility in side of a month shows something more has to be done to prevent deaths.


I can't help but wonder if this guy didn't have a small "brain bleed" that they missed at the "wonderful" FRMC" or at "NOMS"..,,AHEM!!!   At the very least, they should have been doing neuro checks on this guy for a few days to be sure and it sounds like he had symptoms or they wouldn't have taken him twice.

So why did they dismiss it so quickly?????   Because they JUST DON"T CHECK CLOSELY ENOUGH at those places.  He came from JAIL!!!!!!!   So who cared, right? 

How sad.   I will bet they find a brain bleed on autopsy. 

Phil Packer

 Ghosts in the jailhouse.


OK first question is...If I remember reading correctly they only have to check on them every hour.  So did he really check on him at 245a and then again at 250a???  Somehow unless they release vid showing this, I will have a hard time believing it.  Just kind of odd to say yep he was fine one min and the next min he was dead at that time in the morning.  Isn't like he was just admitted drunk, he had been in there since Oct.  Something about this really doesnt sound right....



 Well first off, for those of you critisizing Firelands, they took excellent care of my wife and if it wasn't for their excellent care of her she would not be with me today so I am one who is thankful. All hospitals and personnel are not perfect and mistakes can be made, however I believe like anything else SR blows this out of proportion and always wants someone to be blamed no matter who it is. I believe that we have a pretty good hospital system in place and a well respected and hard working Sheriff's office and I congratulate them for the work they do and keep us safe. Go take one of their Civilian Police Academy classes and your eyes will be opened to the reality of what they do and you will gain a new respect for them and the Sheriffs Office. Just because an inmate doesn't have to be checked but every hour doesn't mean they can't or won't check them more often or if they happen to be looking in on another inmate that could of been the reasoning, don't assume.


@concernedtruth, if you are really concerned about the truth then tell me where in the article it says the SR is blaming the Sheriffs Department.

Local Resident


The SR was not slamming Firelands, I was.  I am thankful and you are truly blessed to have gotten such excellent care for your wife.  Unfortunatly, others have not been so lucky. 


 The new death penalty.....Erie County Jail.


 OMGreally says: Just kind of odd to say yep he was fine one min and the next min he was dead at that time in the morning. 

Did you really just say that?

People die like that every day.


 wiredmama222 says

I can't help but wonder if this guy didn't have a small "brain bleed" that they missed at the "wonderful" FRMC" or at "NOMS"..,,AHEM!!!

You would like to think that every ER Doc would catch all symptoms all the time, unfortunately, life isn't like that.

Some doctors are amazing diagnosticians, some, not so much.

Like one told me once "Sometimes things have to happen to give us an clue.'

Sometimes you just don't get that and you go from "alive one minute to dead the next"

No one gets out alive.





 I didn't know Gary Busey was,in the Erie County jail !!  


hehehe, Gary B.  Good one.


 How much do you want to bet that SR never publishes anything whatsoever about the autopsy results, especially if there is anything that makes either FRMC or the ECSO look incompetent in any way?  Any takers?  


OK, for those armchair Docs out there...the diagnosis of a "brain bleed" or hemorrhagic stroke is made due to the results of a CT scan - which it sounds like was done at least twice - there is either a bleed or there isn't - no fuzzy gray line.  Maybe he had another unrealated injury or illness, but I doubt it was a "brain bleed."  I really hope that all those people that complain about the care they recieve at FRMC or NOMS never return there, especially in an emergency, because that would be awfully hypocritical.


I was thinking Nick Nolte.  Hopefully they report the autopsy report.

Taxed Enough Already

The Sheriff's Dept. did everything possible for the guy.  Four trips to the ER since January 25,....what else can anyone expect the Sheriff's Dept. to do?  If it were me and I did not feel good after the first time of going and having a CT scan with no injuries found, I probably would not have gone back again because of the expense and not wanting to look like a hypochondriac. No expense was spared in this case.  Watch they will probably find out during the autopsy that he died of a heart attack or something totally unrelated to his fall.

Truth or Dare

Where does it state  he was admitted into the jail under the influence of drugs and alcohol?  I didn't read that part.  The first blurb regarding this stated somehting about receiving medication after the fall in the shower.   I would surmise he hit his head.  Who knows, maybe he was allergic to the medication given?! 

Remember when Liam Neeson, the actors' wife died a short time after falling while skiiing and hitting her head.   Then shortly after that, the same thing happend to a young girl.  They had suffered hard  blows to the head.   It's my understanding that Cat Scans won't/don't show as much as an MRI, but of course they're much more costly to perform, and under normal circumstances must first be approved by one's health insurance carrier.  That's if ya have it!   

What I find to be horrid here,  is that people actually joke about something like this.  Just goes to show how callous, cold-hearted people have become.  Better explains the world we live in today! 


well, there's ghosts there now for sure.  two of them.  maybe there's a portal to the other side too and some other ghost telling them to come on through for early release.

danny r.

My ex wife's bf is from north of the turnpike/Vermilion...I hate those people with a job.

danny r.

I just came to town for a good time on the off season and they ripped off my car.

Richard Cranium

Maybe he should've obeyed the law and not got arrested.


Why did it take 15 minutes for a squad to arrive? That is an awful long time with the squad just up the street.

my oh my

With the subject experiencing the classic textbook signs and symptoms of a headbleed here ie. decorticate posturing by pulling his arms towards his midline and also the decebrate posturing by stiffening his body up a few days before the death.One has to question the negligence issue here on behalf of ECSO and also call into question the response time and scene time of PTFD EMS personnel.Now I don't condone the criminal acts that may have lead this subject to jail but he should be treated equally and fairly.With the aspect of him being in the custody of ECSO Erie County is the responsibly party here for the care and bills and such.This case needs to be reviewed thouroughly and accurately especially being the second death in there in a month.Also FRMC and NOMS needs to be looked at as well....


CT scans do NOT always pick up the bleeding.  An MRI would have been more effective, especially since he returned several times.    My point was, and it was entirely missed, that he should have been ADMITTED AND WATCHED. But the ER doctors failed to do so. 

Truth or Dare nailed it....this is EXACTLY like what happened to Liam's wife and I wouldn't be the least bit surprised if this is not the same thing,especially given what they stated were his actions upon returning to the jail.

I commend the police for having the good sense to return him to the hospital. 

You bet I won't go back to Firelands.  I do not trust them from BAD EXPERIENCES I HAVE HAD FIRST HAND,   Yeah, I fear them.  Death of a family member because of a missed diagnosis, wrong medications, too many mistakes.  Congratulations to those who haven't suffered at their hands.

I realize that I am but one person, but I know many who have stopped going there because of bad treatment. They now go to other hospital like I do.  It takes some time to get to Norwalk, but we feel safer, and that it worth everything to me and my family, as it does to the other who go there and to Port Clinton. 

I don't think the SR is saying anything bad about the police OR the hospital.  They are simply stating what happened, nothing more.  But most people read more into a story than is really stated.  

I, like many, are "guessing" about what happened to this man.    I base mine on 39 years in the medical field.  But I will tell you this.  

The comments here are ALL speculations and none of us really knows what happened.  We won't know unless the SR prints or gives us the autopsy results and they are pretty good about following up on stories.   




Scans do not always indicate abnormal readings and usually require another follow up weeks, even months, after an injury.  There are several possibilities in the death of the inmate. The injury may have lead to a stoke or a seizure that caused his death.  A injury depending on the location can cause other medical issues with various organs or systems. The dye from the CT scan could have caused his kidneys to fail in the event that he already had poor kidney health.  He seemed to have been suffering from symptoms related to dimentia upon entering the ECJ which could suggest other failing systems.  There are endless possibilities.... 

The opinion that SR is suggesting that the public outcry should be poor procedure by staff at  ECSD is unfounded.  The video, the written article, and the reports provided by CO at the jail do not suggest any likelihood of such. 

Suspicions or curiosity as to why the inmate was checked twice in a few minutes is addressed in the report by that CO and explains that he went back after completing routine checks of all areas to reposition the inmate to a supine position on his mat.  A great deal of empathy seems to have been given to the inmate including helping to dress and feed him. 

Julie R.

I haven't read all the comments on this so I don't know if anybody mentioned it --- but wasn't this guy on the front page of that CUFFED IN ERIE COUNTY paper? I didn't buy the paper but I remember the picture. Nevertheless, I don't think anybody deserves to die in jail. Sounds like some negligence on the hospital's part.


No, he didn't nail it & it wasn't the same as what happened to Liam Neeson's wife. The guy had a blood clot in his leg that broke free. He didn't have a brain bleed.