Questions Arise about In-Custody Death at El Dorado County Jail

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by Robert J. Hansen

Placerville, CA – An incarcerated man with epilepsy, in the custody of the El Dorado Sheriff’s Office, died at Marshall Hospital shortly after being booked in the county jail on Thursday, July 28, according to a spokesperson with the sheriff’s office.

Dustin Heier, 40, was arrested while checking in with the sheriff’s office for being under the influence of a controlled substance, the spokesperson said.

Heier was released from the Eldorado County Jail the day before after serving two years for charges that his former attorney, Bob Blaiser, was prepared to fight at trial.

“He already has enough time served so he pleaded out,” Blaiser said.

Patrick Heier, Dustin’s uncle, said that a detective called him on Thursday and told him about Dustin’s death but he hasn’t heard from the coroner about the cause.

Heier and Blaiser both said that Dustin was taken to the hospital twice and the second time was for having an epileptic seizure.

Police originally told Patrick that his nephew, Heier, was uncooperative and refused treatment the first time he was taken to the hospital.

“That’s concerning that he went to the hospital twice,” Heier’s uncle said. “It’s not clear what he was doing before he made it to the sheriff’s office.”

Another detective told Patrick that Dustin was calm the first time at the hospital and refused care. Then shortly after returning to jail, Dustin began another seizure and was rushed back to the hospital.

There are still concerns about why Heier was taken to the hospital twice.

“It doesn’t make much sense to me why he’d choose to go right back to jail,” Blaiser said.

The coroner’s office has not yet released the cause of Heier’s death.

Heier inherited a house from his late mother that was supposed to help him start his life over, according to his uncle.

His share of the house was anticipated to provide him with over $100,000.

“He had a place to go and was supposed to come to help me with the house,” Patrick said.

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About The Author

Robert J Hansen is an investigative journalist and economist. Robert is covering the Yolo County DA's race for the Vanguard.

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