Mother tried to bail out asthmatic Woman says she told jail officials son had life-threatening illness

Autopsy notes asthma

Probe into inmate's death to be done by next week, Ecker says

June 12, 1998|By Del Quentin Wilber | Del Quentin Wilber,SUN STAFF

The mother of a Howard County Detention Center inmate found dead Sunday said yesterday that she had tried to bail him out a day earlier.

"He wanted me to get him out," said Carol Lee Spinoso. "But I don't have $2,500."

Officials are investigating what happened to Parrish Michael Spinoso, 22, who died of an acute asthma attack, according to a preliminary autopsy report.

His mother and her attorney say jail officials failed to provide her son access to his asthma medication, which police took to the jail after arresting him June 5 on drug charges.

County Executive Charles I. Ecker said that while the investigation is continuing, "there is no indication that there is any disciplinary action warranted."

Ecker did not elaborate. He said the investigation, by police and jail officials, would be completed by early next week.

"It's very unfortunate that an inmate died," Ecker said. "We'll see if we can pin down what happened."

Officials at the detention center did not return telephone calls yesterday.

Spinoso was arrested at his Ellicott City apartment June 5, accused of selling heroin to undercover detectives in November. Before leaving in a police wagon, Spinoso was seen by police and a reporter breathing from several inhalers and taking a prescription pill.

Funeral services for Spinoso were held yesterday in Granite, where his mother lives. Later, standing in the small kitchen of her home, Carol Spinoso recalled her final meeting with her son -- through a glass partition at the Howard County Dention Center on Saturday.

Neglect alleged

She said jail officials neglected her son -- despite her repeated warnings that he suffered from "life-threatening" asthma.

"I told them at the detention center that he was sick with asthma and they said they were going to look after him," Spinoso said, recalling conversations Saturday with jail officials.

She said her son had visited her every day to help after her recent foot surgery and, with friends, took care of the yard.

On the family's refrigerator, a note reads: "Mom, I love you. Love, Parrish. XOXOXO."

His mother described him as a dreamer who hoped to own a business in several years with help from a trust fund established by his grandfather. A 1994 graduate of Mount St. Joseph High School, Spinoso had recently dropped out of Catonsville Community College, she said.

'Hurtful society'

"He wanted to be wealthy and take care of me and him," she said. "Kids today do a lot of things. We live in a hurtful society."

Yesterday, at Parrish Spinoso's Ellicott City apartment, roommate Angela Kress, 24, opened the door to a visitor. Spinoso's pet ferret was curled tightly in a cage.

Spinoso often made extra food for his roommates and bought them dinner when they were low on cash, she said. Kress said Spinoso visited his grandfather every Monday.

"He was just a nice, outgoing guy," Kress said.

Pub Date: 6/12/98

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