Stateline man’s death leaves family in shock
June 20, 2008
A 24-year-old Stateline man who was hospitalized after apparently hanging himself with a bedsheet in the Douglas County jail in Stateline has died, authorities said.
Keith Truswell was disconnected from life support at Barton Memorial Hospital late Thursday and was pronounced dead just before midnight that night, according to the El Dorado County Sheriff’s Office.
Truswell had been booked into the jail June 13 on suspicion of driving under the influence, according to the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office.
Truswell’s death came as a shock to family members. Before his arrest, Truswell had spent the day playing softball and was out with friends that night. Just a few days earlier, he was excited about catching a 23-inch trout at one of his favorite fishing spots at Lake Tahoe.
Truswell had “a smile that would light up our world” and was a great hugger, according to his aunt, Liz Cordero.
“He’d just wrap his arms around you and squeeze the breath out of you,” said his uncle, Jeff Cordero.
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Truswell, a 2001 Whittell High School graduate, loved the outdoors and was a natural at any sport he tried, Liz Cordero said.
At age 8, he won a gold medal in tae kwon do at the Junior Olympics and wore the medal day and night, Jeff Cordero recalled.
As a high school senior, Truswell was a member of the Whittell golf team that brought home a state title.
The victories exemplify Truswell’s competitive spirit.
“Everything was competitive, whether it was golfing or fishing or work,” said Joel Warnick, who knew Truswell since they were in first grade together at Zephyr Cove Elementary School and described himself as Truswell’s best friend. “He just wanted to be the best at everything he did.”
After high school, Truswell attended the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. A history buff, Truswell considered becoming a high school history teacher, his aunt said.
He returned to Tahoe and had been working at the Round Hill Pines Beach Resort and as a drywall installer for Warnick’s company, Sierra Drywall.
“He was honest and honorable. He never judged people; he accepted everyone,” Warnick said. “He was very loved, and we’re all going to miss him very much.”
Liz Cordero said that despite his many interests, Truswell would pass up other activities to attend family events. “He loved his family deeply,” she said.
And Cordero was touched at how many people contacted the family while Truswell was hospitalized to offer their support. “It as just amazing how many people he touched,” she said.
Truswell never regained consciousness after he was taken from the jail, family members said.
The hanging, in which Truswell apparently affixed a bedsheet to a wall-mounted television shelf within the jail cell, was discovered at 6 a.m. the morning after he was booked, authorities said.
Deputies cut Truswell free and performed rescue procedures until paramedics arrived and transported him to Barton, sheriff’s officials said. An autopsy was scheduled for Friday.
A Douglas County Sheriff’s Office spokesman did not respond to requests for comment Friday.