Rios moved

Tuesday, January 25, 2005 | 12:00 a.m. CST; updated 6:03 p.m. CDT, Monday, July 21, 2008

Murder suspect and former Columbia police officer Steven Rios has been moved to the Boone County Jail, where he is being held in isolated custody.

Rios had been held at the Biggs Forensic Unit at Fulton State Hospital since he was charged with murder July 1 in the slaying of MU student Jesse Valencia.

Rios arrived at the jail about 4 p.m. Friday after staff at the hospital decided to release him, said Boone County Sheriff’s Capt. Warren Brewer, director of the jail. He said the suspect is segregated from the other inmates but declined to comment on whether he is under watch.

Rios is being held without bail, according to the Sheriff’s Department Web site.

Felix Vincenz, chief executive officer of Fulton State Hospital, declined to confirm whether Rios was a patient at Biggs, citing patient privacy law. He spoke in general terms about the release of patients from the hospital.

Vincenz said once staff members decide that inpatient care is no longer necessary for a patient, a social worker contacts the jail and arranges for the patient to be transferred.

The release of a patient does not necessarily mean that a psychiatric disorder has been treated to submission, but that the symptoms of the disorder have been sufficiently treated and the patient no longer needs to be in a hospital, Vincenz said. Further outpatient treatment could be an option for a suspect, he said.

Valencia was found with his throat cut about 2 p.m. on June 5 between two houses on Wilson Avenue. A week later, Rios told investigators that he was involved in a relationship with the victim, police said. After disclosure of their relationship, Rios threatened suicide twice.

Rios’ trial is set to begin on May 16.

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