Inmate death deemed apparent suicide

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By Staff Brunswick Beacon

An inmate who was found dead at the Brunswick County Detention Center died of an apparent suicide, sheriff’s office spokesman Sgt. Del Routh said.

Routh said Steven Allan Myers, 21, of Cary, was found dead in his cell Dec. 23. Routh said Myers was alone in his cell at the time of his death.

Myers was in the general population at the detention center, Routh said. He had been in custody since Dec. 20, when he was booked for several felony charges, including an assault on a female charge, two assault by strangulation charges and a communicating threats charge.

Brunswick County Sheriff John Ingram said Myers was placed on suicide watch immediately after being booked into the facility. Inmates on suicide watch are isolated from the rest of the population and monitored. Detention officers check on watch inmates every 15 minutes.

After a few days on suicide watch, a physician cleared Myers, saying he could return to the general population, Ingram said. When he returned to general population, Ingram said Myers managed to strip the sheet off the bed to assist him in committing suicide.

A preliminary investigation has determined Myers died from self-inflicted asphyxiation. 

Ingram said detention officers are trained to observe and detect behaviors to determine if an inmate is considered to be a threat or suicidal.

At the request of Ingram and District Attorney Jon David, the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation is investigating the death. Once the SBI investigation is completed, results will be turned over to David, who will determine if there was any wrongdoing.

Brunswick County Sheriff’s Office Capt. Jane Evans said the last time an inmate committed suicide while in custody was in March 2005 when Paul Andrews of Oak Island committed suicide in a holding cell in the old jail facility.

Caroline Curran is a staff writer at The Brunswick Beacon. Reach her at 754-6890 or ccurran@brunswickbeacon.com.