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Loved ones seek answers after inmate dies at Milwaukee Secure Detention Facility

William Leary

MILWAUKEE -- After calling for help multiple times, an inmate at the Milwaukee Secure Detention Facility passed away on Sunday, March 17 prompting an investigation from the Wisconsin Department of Corrections and the Milwaukee Police Department.

William Leary, known to his friends as Bill, was at the facility for almost three weeks for receiving stolen property when he began showing signs of illness. FOX6 News spoke with someone close to Leary, who said loved ones want to know what really happened inside the facility.

"She hurting. She's hurting," said Marty Calderon, Leary's friend.

Marty Calderon said Tuesday, March 19 Bill Leary's longtime girlfriend was struggling and mourning -- too distraught to speak publicly.

"Lynn is hanging in there. We talk almost every day. I pray with her and encourage her," said Calderon.

Marty Calderon

As of Tuesday, the 51-year-old man's death remained a mystery.

"She really is looking to get answers," Calderon said. "She doesn't want to pass any blame on anybody. She just wants to know what happened."

What we do know is that Leary had been hospitalized recently for GI bleeding, and while at the Milwaukee Secure Detention Facility, he went to the nurse because he had not been feeling well and was hyperventilating. The nurse had him sit in a chair and drink some water, which he spilled. He then "fell to the cell floor and was flopping around." They checked his vital signs, which were normal, and left.

Milwaukee Secure Detention Facility

Milwaukee Secure Detention Facility

His cellmate said after spending a lot of time on the toilet, he fell off and was hysterical on the ground -- later found unresponsive.

Reports said a note was taken as evidence. It read, "Tell Chad that I'm bleeding inside really badly and that HSU is doing nothing for me. They won't even see, and I was already in the hospital for four days for this (expletive) and when I stand up I get dissy [sic]."

While FOX6 News was sent a photo of someone vandalizing the building's sign -- upset over the death -- Calderon maintained Leary's loved ones were not angry, just heartbroken and eager for answers.

Vandalism at Milwaukee Secure Detention Facility

"She is very supportive of law enforcement... respects them and she knows there is another side of what happened. She is just waiting to hear everything of what happened. It's really sad. He was a genuine, goodhearted man," said Calderon.

Loved ones were planning to lay Leary to rest this weekend.

Meanwhile, officials with the Milwaukee County Medical Examiner's Office said the cause of death was pending toxicology. Reports showed the water in the cell was in working order.

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