Detainee dies in Buncombe County Detention Center, cause yet to be determined

  • In US
  • 2022-01-26 14:40:33Z
  • By Asheville Citizen-Times
The Buncombe County Detention Facility December 2, 2021.
The Buncombe County Detention Facility December 2, 2021.  

A woman who was being detained at the Buncombe County Detention Center died late on Jan. 25, the facility's first death of 2022 and its fifth in less than a year.

The woman was 41 years old and had been jailed since 6:06 p.m., Jan. 25, according to a release from the Buncombe County Sheriff's Office.

She died at 11:46 p.m. at Mission Hospital after being transported there from the detention center at 9:07 p.m.

Buncombe County Sheriff's Office spokesperson Aaron Sarver in the release the morning of Jan. 26 said the woman's name would be released within 24 hours if no next of kin could be contacted.

She was on special watch, which the release said was based on her "previous booking history and disclosure of a history of drug use, including methamphetamine and fentanyl, during the medical screening that took place during the booking process."

More: NC's deadliest jail: Buncombe leaders call for low-barrier homeless shelter, reforms

A detention officer at approximately 8:30 p.m. was conducting supervision rounds and "observed a detainee acting erratically in a holding cell in female booking," according to the release.

The officer went into the holding cell, calling for medical and supervisors.

After a check by the nurse, emergency medical services arrived at the detention center 8:45 p.m., according to the release.

"The cause of death will be determined by the medical examiner pending an autopsy. The SBI and Buncombe County District Attorney have been notified," Sarver said in the release. "The SBI will conduct an independent investigation as is standard practice."

Sarver adds that initial checks of rounds and review of video and body camera footage shows that "the required rounds were conducted and policies were followed by detention officers and medical staff prior to the medical incident."

A recent Citizen Times analysis found that Buncombe has the deadliest jail out of the 10 largest jails in North Carolina.

This story will be updated.

Andrew Jones is Buncombe County government and health care reporter for the Asheville Citizen Times, part of the USA TODAY Network. Follow or reach him at @arjonesreports on Facebook and Twitter. Email him at

This article originally appeared on Asheville Citizen Times: 5th person in less than a year dies at Buncombe Detention Center


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