After 46 days without eating, Tri-County Jail Inmate Robert Fiege, of London, is likely headed to a hospital.
Madison County Probate Judge Glenn Hamilton appointed attorney Blaine Brockman as guardian for the 68-year-old Fiege on Friday at the request of county prosecutor Steve Pronai.
Pronai sought an emergency guardianship after jail medical staff noted Fiege is suffering organ failure, following a 46-day hunger strike. It is the man’s second hunger strike in seven months.
The first, which ran 36 days last fall, accelerated Fiege’s current deterioration, according to Donald Hura, M.D., the jail’s medical director.
It will now be up to Brockman to decide on Fiege’s future and whether or not to force medical care. Fiege refused treatment at Champaign County Hospital in recent weeks. He also began giving away personal belongings, Pronai said.
Assistant jail director Drew Hildebrand said once legal guardianship is established, jail staff will again seek treatment for Fiege at Champaign County Hospital. If doctors there find the man’s physical condition too critical, Fiege will be transferred to a medical facility in Columbus or Dayton.
A court-ordered psychiatric evaluation earlier this month determined Fiege incompetent to stand trial on a child abduction charge.
As previously reported, the charge stemmed from a July 2013 incident at London Apartments during which Fiege allegedly tried to snatch a 4-year-old girl from a playground at the complex. Fiege was living nearby in a converted bus.
Fiege consistently maintained his innocence in letters to law enforcement, The Madison Press and court officials. He also disputes the incompetency ruling, asserting he is sane and the victim of misidentification.
On May 19, the current hunger strike prompted visiting common pleas Judge Steven P. Beathard to order 20 days of additional mental observation and evaluation of Fiege at Summit Behavioral Center in Cincinnati. But the facility had no beds available at the time.
By the time a bed was available, Fiege’s advanced medical problems prevented admission, Hildebrand said.
In the meantime, Fiege continued self-imposed starvation.
Hildebrand said Fiege’s hunger strike is potentially the longest in Tri-County history.