Statement Regarding March 14, 2021 Death in Custody
Milwaukee, WI(March 15, 2021) – On Sunday, March 14, at 11:23 p.m., a 41-year-old male in the custody of the Milwaukee County Sheriff’s Office was found unresponsive in a cell at the Milwaukee County Jail. Milwaukee County Sheriff’s correctional officers and jail medical staff began performing life-saving measures on the individual. The Milwaukee Fire Department paramedics arrived and continued performing life-saving measures. However, at 11:59 p.m., the individual was pronounced deceased.
The deceased, Nicholas Sonsthagen of Milwaukee, was initially booked into custody on Wednesday, March 10. Later that day, he made statements indicating an intent to cause self-harm and was placed on suicide watch. On Saturday, March 13, Mr. Sonsthagen was medically cleared and returned to a general population housing unit.
The State of Wisconsin requires all sheriff’s offices in the state to conduct cell inspections once every hour for persons confined to a general population housing unit. The Milwaukee County Sheriff’s Office exceeds that requirement by having correctional officers perform cell inspections once every 30 minutes.
The Milwaukee County Sheriff’s Office requested that the Waukesha County Sheriff’s Department conduct an independent investigation into the cause of death of Mr. Sonsthagen. They will make a report on their findings once the investigation is completed.