UPDATE: Cherokee Co. Sheriff's Office cooperating with inmate death investigation
Cherokee County Sheriff's Department Chief Deputy Mark Thigpen states the inmate, 30-year-old Joshua Shane Long, was housed at the Cherokee County Detention Facility.
UPDATE: Sheriff Derrick Palmer announced the Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office is cooperating with the investigation into the death of a Cherokee County Inmate several hours after his arrest.
Around 5:00 p.m. on July 11, the Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office responded to the Wolf Creek community to investigate an individual that was acting irrationally.
When deputies responded to the scene they arrested 30-year-old Joshua Shane Long for Resisting Public Officer, Simple Possession of Schedule VI Controlled Substance and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia, Obstructing or Delaying an officer in performance of his duties.
Long was taken to the Cherokee County Detention Center where the North Carolina Magistrate set a $1000 bond.
Long was processed and placed in a cell.
Information found during the arrest of Long showed that he had a Blairsville, Georgia address.
Long was non-combative at the detention center. He was processed and placed in an observation "holding" cell, and he did not have any other cellmates.
Shortly after 11:00 p.m. on the same day, Long was found unresponsive in his cell and Detention Staff began life-saving measures.
Detention Staff also notified Cherokee County Emergency Communications who called Cherokee County EMS who later transported Long to a Life Flight Air Ambulance.
Long was flown to a Tennessee Hospital where he was later pronounced deceased.
Staff at the detention office contacted the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation, the District Attorney's Office and the North Carolina DDHS (Detention Division).
An autopsy was performed July 13 on Long's body. The sheriff's office said the preliminary report showed "no obvious cause of death and they did not find any obvious trauma."
The sheriff's department is currently waiting on a toxicology report.
"A toxicology analysis is being conducted and when finished, a complete report will be written and hopefully a cause of death can be determined," a sheriff's department spokesperson explained. "At this time the official cause of death is undetermined."
Investigators are currently interviewing witnesses and reviewing jail video, surveillance tapes and officer reports
Anyone with information about Long's death is asked to contact the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation at (919) 662-4500.
Sheriff Derrick Palmer stated, “Our thoughts and prayers go out to the family of the deceased. We are cooperating fully with the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation and will continue to do so until we know how this happened.”
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