Cook County jail inmate found dead in cell

A Cook County jail detainee was found dead in his cell Wednesday afternoon, the sheriff’s office said in a statement. Suicide is suspected.

James Sonntag | CCSO

A corrections officer reportedly found James Sonntag, age 47, unresponsive in his cell with a cloth band wrapped around his neck during a security check around 2:30 p.m.

The officer removed the cloth and began CPR until fire department paramedics arrived, according to the statement. Sonntag was pronounced dead at the scene.

Sonntag, of Palos Heights, was booked into the jail Monday after a judge determined that he violated the terms of probation that he received for possession of child pornography last year. The judge ordered him to post a $5,000 deposit bond to get out on electronic monitoring.

The sheriff’s office said bond had already been posted for Sonntag, but he remained jailed Wednesday because the county’s adult probation department was still finalizing his electronic monitoring arrangements.

In June 2016, Sonntag was arrested after the Cook County Internet Crimes Against Children task force tracked child pornography downloads to an IP address assigned to his home, according to the Beverly-Mount Greenwood Patch.

He was sentenced to 180 days in jail and 36 months of sex offender probation last year after a three-day bench trial by Judge Colleen Hyland. 

During the trial, Sontagg’s wife called him “the best guy I ever met.”

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