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Lackawanna man dies one month after suicide try in lockup

A Lackawanna man who attempted suicide last month by hanging himself with a phone cord while in police lockup has died, family members said.

Stephen Sinwell, 30, died Sept. 19 at Erie County Medical Center where he was taken Aug. 15 after Lackawanna police officers found him  unconscious and slouched over in his cell with a phone cord wrapped around his neck.

Sinwell, who never regained consciousness, was on life support since his arrival at ECMC, family members said.

Services for Sinwell were conducted Thursday.

"The first two weeks we didn't leave his side," said Louis Sinwell, Sinwell's father who lives in Bethlehem, Pa.

Police initially discovered Sinwell in a vehicle parked outside his apartment in Lackawanna, said James T. Kuna, Lackawanna director of public safety.

They were responding to a "check the welfare " call from Sinwell's former girlfriend, who was concerned after a series of text messages she received from Sinwell threatened to harm himself. Sinwell, who had just turned 30, was depressed over the state of his life, family members said.

Officers charged Sinwell with fifth-degree drug possession after a residue believed to be cocaine was discovered under his nostrils and in the vehicle, Kuna said at the time of the incident.

Shortly after his incarceration, Sinwell was found unconscious, police said.

"His birthday was September 1," said Louis Sinwell. "We took him out for breakfast to Apollo restaurant that morning. That was the last time we saw him."

The family has contacted attorney Herschel Gelber to represent their interests, confirmed Louis Sinwell, a former steelworker.

Gelber could not be reached for comment.

Sinwell's family struggles to deal with the loss of their loved one.

"Though he didn't have children of his own, he loved his nieces and nephews," Louis Sinwell said. "Everyone remembers Uncle Steve. Steve had a heart of gold with the kids."









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