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      Inmate dies, racked up $250,000 in medical costs

      Genesee Co. jail

      A Genesee County inmate dies while in custody.

      The cost of his medical care has caused controversy in recent weeks.

      Sheriff deputies say the medical cost alone for 62-year-old Wayne Smith of Clio was around $250,000 over the past two years.

      The sheriff's department says it was the inmate's fault for being there so long.

      Monday morning, deputies say they tried to wake up Wayne Smith for a family visit and found no pulse. Emergency crews responded and took Smith to Hurley Medical Center where he died at 9:44 a.m.

      Smith had been at the Genesee County jail since December of 2009 on a first degree criminal sexual conduct charge. He had major medical issues. "Not the least of which is rather advanced coronary artery disease, along with high blood pressure, diabetes, and a host of other malities," says Genesee Co. medical director Dennis Lloyd.

      Since then, the undersheriff says Smith has racked up hundreds of thousands of dollars in medical bills. "One would ask why he's in a facility like this when the tax payers are disputing this healthcare cost. It's because of these situations we have to put public safety on top of the cost of healthcare," says Undersheriff Chris Swanson.

      NBC25 took the issue to taxpayers to see where they stood.

      "That's worth it. That's worth it because we can't risk people going out and hurting innocent people," says Sheila McCrady of Flint.

      Cleophus Smith of Mt. Morris says, "It's worth it because we don't want to be looking over our shoulder every day when we go out or whatever. That's a lot of stress on the body. So i'd rather see him locked up and pay for it."

      The undersheriff says Smith's trial stalled because Smith has gone through four lawyers, two appointed and two he hired.

      It's the cost of business, says Swanson, in a free, democratic society.

      An autopsy will be performed within 24-hours.

      The results, including toxicology results, could take six months.

      The sheriff's department says all signs point to natural causes of death.