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Updated: ISP investigating homicide after inmate found dead at Jackson County Jail

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MURPHYSBORO — The Illinois State Police are investigating the death of a 31-year-old man at the Jackson County Jail, according to a news release from the Jackson County Sheriff's Office.

The man's death is being investigated as a homicide, the sheriff's office said.

Jackson County Coroner Thomas Kupferer has identified the decedent as Collin Kotlarz, originally of Waverly, Tennessee. In a news release, Kupferer said that a forensic autopsy by Dr. Michael Jacobi is scheduled for Thursday afternoon. Kotlarz's family has been notified, Kupferer said. 

Kotlarz's body was found Thursday morning in his jail cell by a correctional deputy conducting a routine cell check about 6:45 a.m.

Kotlarz was being held in the Jackson County Jail after being arrested March 5 by law enforcement in Union County for allegedly driving under the influence and related charges, according to

The Union County State's Attorney had charged Kotlarz with two Class 2 felony charges of aggravated driving under the influence, as well as a misdemeanor charge of driving on a revoked license. He additionally had been cited for allegedly having open liquor in his vehicle at the time of arrest and improper lane usage.

Jackson and Union counties have an intergovernmental agreement for Jackson County to house inmates from Union County, which does not have its own jail. 

Investigators have not released the names of potential suspects related to Kotlarz's death. The name of the decedent was withheld in an earlier report, and confirmed by Kupferer later Thursday morning. 

The Jackson County State's Attorney's Office has been recused and the Illinois State's Attorney's Appellate Prosecutor's Office has been appointed to serve as the prosecutor in all matters relating to this investigation, according to the news release.

In the past decade, there has been one other reported death at the Jackson County Jail, according to data received from a 2015 FOIA request.


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Stephanie Esters is a reporter covering Jackson and Union counties.

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