The Steele County Sheriff's Office, including the Sheriff, Lon Thiele, the Steele County Detention Center, as well as a nurse that was working at the Detention Center, were named in a wrongful death lawsuit. The suit, a medical malpractice/wrongful death suit, alleges that doctors did not diagnose the cancer that ended the life of Elbert Larkins, until it was too late to treat successfully.

Mr. Larkins was incarcerated at the Steele County Detention Center as well as the state prisons in Faribault and Rush City between 2014 and 2017. The cancer was diagnosed in March of 2017. The suit alleges that if he had received a referral to a urologist, then the prostate cancer could have been diagnosed sooner, and possibly been curable.

The Steele Sheriff Facebook page had this to say in response to the suit:

The inmate did not pass away at the Steele County Detention Center, although he was incarcerated there for a time.

SCSO/SCDC is labeled because he was housed at our jail at one time. The inmate didn't die here - The inmate died at a different jail. This is how it is.....in a blanket suit, everyone associated with a facility, amazingly gets their name on the suit if they were there or not.

This story bears watching, and at this time, there are still more unknowns than knowns.

Sources: Owatonna People's Press, Steele Sheriff Facebook Page