Murphy, NC— Sheriff Derrick Palmer announced the Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office is continuing to cooperate with the State Bureau of Investigation in its inquiry into the death of a Cherokee County Inmate. Preliminary investigation reveals the following:
Around 5 pm on July 11th, 2018 the Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office received a 911 call in reference to an individual acting irrationally in the Wolf Creek community of Cherokee County. When deputies responded, an investigation ensued resulting in the arrest of 30 year old Joshua Shane Long for, Simple Possession of Schedule VI Controlled Substance and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia and Resisting, Obstructing or Delaying an officer in performance of his duties. Deputies arrived at the Cherokee County Detention Center at seven o’clock pm. Long was set a $1000.00 secure bond by a North Carolina Magistrate. Information found during the arrest of Long showed that he had a Blairsville, Georgia address.
Long was non-combative at the detention center and was processed and placed in an observation “holding” cell, located in the detention booking area. During this time, he remained in the observation cell with no other cell mate. Detention Officers made their documented rounds checking on Long with no incidents or issues.
At appoxiamately11:12 pm, July 11th, 2018 Detention Officers made an observation of Long conscious and alert as they made their rounds. At approximately 11:14 (two minutes later) detention officers found Long unresponsive in his cell. Detention Staff began life saving measures and notified Cherokee County Emergency Communications, who summoned Cherokee County EMS. Lifesaving measures were continued by jail staff until they were relieved by paramedics from Cherokee County EMS. Long was transported by EMS to a Life Flight Air Ambulance where he was flown to a Tennessee Hospital where he was examined and pronounced dead.
As mandated by North Carolina General Statutes, Detention Office staff contacted the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation, the District Attorney’s Office, and the North Carolina DHHS (Detention Division).
On Friday July 13, 2018 an autopsy was conducted by the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner. A preliminary verbal report was given to the Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office by the medical examiner that conducted the autopsy. It was reported that there was no obvious cause of death and they did not find any obvious trauma to Mr. Long. A toxicology analysis is being conducted and when finished, a complete report will be written and hopefully a cause of death can be determined. At this time the official cause of death is undetermined. The North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation is in the process of interviewing witnesses, reviewing jail video surveillance tapes and reviewing officer’s reports. Anyone with information regarding the death of Mr. Long are encouraged to contact the State Bureau of Investigation immediately.
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.”