The Maryland Chief Medical Examiner's Office determined that a Delaware man who complained of stomach pain as he was booked into a detention center last week died in his cell of a perforated ulcer, according to a state health department spokeswoman.
Nicholaus A. Cirillo, 37, told authorities he had “stomach discomfort” when he was brought to the Carroll County Detention Center on Wednesday, the facility's warden, George Hardinger, has said. Cirillo was examined by medics, but they determined he didn't need to be taken to the hospital.
Officers were instead assigned to check on him at least every 15 minutes, Hardinger said. Cirillo was seen lying on the floor of his cell just before 11 p.m., and he was pronounced dead less than an hour later, according to a statement from the sheriff’s office obtained by The Caroll County Times.
Cirillo's aunt, Marianne Sickler, told the newspaper that she received a panicked call from Cirillo around 7 p.m. She said he was crying as he described that he was coughing up blood and he told her authorities wouldn't take him to a hospital, according to Sickler's account
Hardinger said the detention center medical staff would have transported Cirillo to the hospital if they thought it was necessary, and that “he was receiving medical attention based on what we knew.” Hardinger also disputed Sickler’s account of the phone call, saying "it just doesn’t square with what we know.”
Cirillo had been taken to the detention center earlier that day on a bench warrant for failure to appear in court on two misdemeanor drug charges, online court records showed.
“He’s not a murderer. He’s not a bad person. He might have had some demons with some drugs, but nothing to deserve to die on a jail cell floor by himself," Sickler said.
The sheriff's office and the detention center are conducting their own investigations into his death, Hardinger said.