By James Smith
Centralia Fireside Guard
MEXICO—A rural Centralia man was found dead in the Audrain County Jail the morning of Thursday, June 13.
According to an Audrain Sheriff’s Department news release, at approximately 9 a.m., an inmate on inmate assault occurred in the Audrain County Jail. The department reported one of the inmates, Micheal Dale Eisenhauer, a 42-year old rural Centralia man was transported to SSM Hospital in Mexico and pronounced dead. He was the son of Doris and Lindell Eisenhauer and grandson of Betty Power of Thompson. He was unmarried and had no children.
“We’re just in shock,” said Eisenhauer’s uncle David Power. “Mom, his grandmother, cancelled her birthday party, our family reunion. She just doesn’t know what to think other than ‘why?’ My sister, Phylliss, stayed with Doris last night. She’s almost in shock and with the chemo for colon cancer and we were worried about her state of mind … I just don’t understand how this could have happened. This is Audrain County, not St. Louis. I’ve lived here all my life and don’t ever remember hearing of somebody being killed in the county jail. We’re just in shock.”
They are also confused, Power said. “First they said he was beat to death, then they said he was stabbed. (Editor’s note, the Boone County Sheriff’s Department probable cause statement says Eisenhauer was beaten to death, not stabbed.) At 9 a.m. they took him to the hospital. Doris was at that same hospital getting her chemo treatment. There should have been some way to tell her, his next of kin, sooner, that something was going on. They were at the hospital at the same time. We would like to know what went on between nine and two.”
The BCSD is investigating Eisenhauer’s murder, per this statement issued by the Audrain County Sheriff’s Department: “Under Chapter 57.111 of the Revised Statutes of Missouri, by request of the Audrain County Sheriff, members of the Boone County Sheriff’s Office are conducting the investigation of the entirety of the incident.”
The BSCD probable cause statement reads, in part: “While together in the jail Ryan Blair assaulted M.E. by repeatedly striking M.E. in the head with his fists and feet until he caused M.E.’s death … Ryan Blair admitted on the morning of June 13, 2019, that he assaulted M.E. and continued to assault M.E. Ryan. Blair admitted he had been planning on killing M.E., he specifically targeted him, and he intended on killing him.”
Before his incarceration, Eisenhauer was unemployed and supported by disability payments. Relatives said he had been disabled since childhood because of a congenital back defect. His hobbies included hunting and fishing, later in life when back pain prevented full enjoyment of those pastimes, video games.
He had been incarcerated in the Audrain County Jail since March 7, 2019, on warrants charging him with first degree domestic assault, armed criminal action and unlawful use of a weapon.
“This should not have happened to Micheal, or anybody,” his brother, Dale Eisenhauer, told the Fireside Guard. “Aren’t there video cameras in their cells? Wasn’t anybody watching? I hope this never happens to anybody else.”
Regarding the probable cause statement he said: “I understand they were on recreational time when it happened. They guy just jumped my brother and kicked and punched him. They took him to the hospital and he died. We can’t believe this friggin happened. We are all crying, just trying to get by, trying to cope with it the best we can.”
Dale said a private wake has been planned, after which his brother’s ashes will be scattered on the family farm.
The department release said the inmate suspected of the assault, Ryan Wade Blair, 27, of Mexico remains in the Audrain County Jail pending formal charging for offenses related to the assault and death. Blair has been incarcerated in the Audrain County Jail since Dec. 22, 2018, on warrants charging him with third degree assault on a special victim.