The mother of a California murder suspect who killed himself while in custody is suing the city of Monterey and San Mateo County for wrongful death. The complaint also names the Mateo County Sheriff, Monterey County and its sheriff, Monterey's chief of police, several law enforcement officials and the Community Hospital of the Monterey Peninsula (CHOMP).
Joshua Claypole, 20-years-old, used a bed sheet to hang himself in his cell in the Monterey County Jail on May 4, 2013, several days after he was arrested on murder charges. Mother Silvia Guersenzvaig says her son suffered from bipolar disorder, and stabbed taxi driver Daniel Garcia Huerta in the midst of a psychotic episode.
"Had [the] defendants followed standard protocols and training, they would have identified Claypole's acute mental health crisis and risk factors, and intervened to protect him and the public," the complaint alleges, as reported by The Monterey Herald. "However, [the] defendants did not have the appropriate policies and procedures in place, and ignored the obvious warning signs. As a result, two families lost their loved ones."
According to The Californian, a local news publication, Guersenzvaig says her son tried to get medical help at CHOMP twice on May 1, but that hospital staff called police rather than admitting Claypole for treatment. Later that day, the young man ordered a cab. He then stabbed and killed Huerta.
Guersenzvaig says her son voiced suicidal thoughts but was not on suicide watch at the time of his death.
If you have lost a loved one and believe that a department, individual or institution is to blame, you may have the right to seek damages and should contact experienced lawyers as soon as possible. The Kansas City attorneys at Meyers Law Firm can assess your claim and help you recover any civil damages to which you may be entitled.