Joseph Michael Mendes

Joseph Michael Mendes

Joseph Michael Mendes, 29, of Imperial was found dead at about midnight Wednesday (Jan. 20) in a Jefferson County Jail cell from an apparent suicide, Sheriff Dave Marshak announced in a written statement.

It appears Mendes hanged himself in his cell at the Jail in Hillsboro, the report said.

Mendes was last seen alive at about 11 p.m. Tuesday (Jan. 19), and at that time, he showed no signs he was contemplating suicide, according to the report.

Mendes, who also has lived in Barnhart, Festus and St. Louis, was alone in the cell due to precautions put in place to stem the spread of COVID-19, and there were no signs of violence or foul play, the Sheriff’s Office said.

Mendes was arrested Jan. 14 on a warrant stemming from a July 9 incident in Jefferson County. The warrant was issued Nov. 3, after he had been charged with unlawful possession of a firearm and two counts of possession of a controlled substance, all class D felonies, as well as possession of marijuana, a class A misdemeanor; driving with a revoked or suspended license, a class A misdemeanor; and a traffic violation, a class C misdemeanor, according to court records.

Each of the class D felonies was punishable by up to seven years in prison. The class A misdemeanor was punishable by up to one year in jail and/or a fine up to $2,000; the class C misdemeanor was punishable by up to 15 days in jail and/or a fine up to $700; and the class D misdemeanor was punishable by a fine up to $500.

Mendes previously pleaded guilty to at least three felonies, court documents show.

In July 2015, he pleaded guilty to felony burglary and stealing and misdemeanor property damage tied to an incident in October 2013 in St. Louis County. His sentence was suspended, and he was placed on five years’ probation, court documents said.

In July 2018, Mendes pleaded guilty to felony possession of marijuana connected to a December 2015 incident in Jefferson County. That sentence also was suspended, and he was placed on five years’ probation, according to court documents.

If you or someone you know is having suicidal thoughts, resources are available to help.

Behavioral Health Response has a crisis line at 1-800-811-4760. Or you can reach out to Comtrea from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday at 1-877-COMTREA.

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is available at 1-800-273-8255.

A crisis text line is available by texting HOME to 741741.

Resources also are available at