UPDATE: Cherokee County Inmate Death

Police & Government

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.”

Cherokee County Inmate Dies After Arrest

Police & Government

Murphy, NC— 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 pm, July 11th, 2018 the Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office responded to the Wolf Creek community of Cherokee County to investigate an individual that was acting irrational. 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. Long was transported to the Cherokee County Detention Center where the North Carolina Magistrate set a $1000.00 secure bond. Long was processed and placed in a cell. Information found during the arrest of Long showed that he had a Blairsville Georgia address.

Shortly after 11 pm, July 11th, 2018 Long was found unresponsive in his cell and Detention Staff began life saving measures. Detention Staff also notified Cherokee County Emergency Communications who summoned 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.

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.”

Ex Detention Officer and Inmate Charged

Press Release

Murphy, NC— Sheriff Derrick Palmer announced the June 7th, 2018 arrest of 48 year old Kathy Carlene Leitner, and 42 year old Barry Wade Allen, both of Murphy North Carolina on charges involving the possession of a mobile phone in a detention facility.

On or about April 24th, 2018 the Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office conducted an investigation into allegations that previous Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office Detention Officer Kathy Leitner had brought a mobile phone into the Detention Facility and had given it to incarcerated inmate Barry Wade Allen.

During the investigation information became known that Leitner and Allen had become involved in an inappropriate relationship which included several voice calls and letters exchanged between the two. Sometime during the months of January to April 2018 Leitner brought a mobile phone into the detention facility and gave it to Allen. Additionally, information became known that Leitner had conveyed a message to Allen from another inmate in which Allen was to harm a third inmate. At the time of the allegations Allen is charged with Child Sexual assaults. This information was presented to the June 4th. 2018 Grand Jury who handed down indictments on both Leitner and Allen. Kathy Leitner was arrested on June 7, 2018 and taken before the North Carolina Magistrate who set a $15,000.00 secure bond. She is currently incarcerated in the Cherokee County Detention Center. Barry Wade Allen, is currently in the Macon County Detention Center was served on July 07th, 2018 and given additional bond. Both Allen and Leitner were also given conditions of bond to have no contact with each other until after the matter is settled in court. Both are expected to be in Cherokee County Superior Court on July 02nd, 2018.

Sheriff Derrick Palmer stated “This conduct can never be tolerated and will not be. We strive to maintain high standards of professionalism.”

To report suspicious activity and suspect violations of the law please call 828-837-3144 or submit a tip at crime.tips@cherokeecounty-nc.gov.

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