State News

NC woman dies in police custody in New Jersey

Posted August 31
Updated September 1

Katie Lee Thomas

— Authorities are investigating the death of a North Carolina woman who was in police custody in New Jersey.

Neptune Township police arrested 21-year-old Katie Lee Thomas of Efland, N.C., outside a strip club on Aug. 17 and charged her with possession of drug paraphernalia, authorities said.

Monmouth County Prosecutor's Office spokesman Charles Webster tells the Asbury Park Press she was in custody at the police station when she was found unresponsive and not breathing.

Webster says authorities performed CPR and she was transported a short distance to a hospital, where she died.

Preliminary findings of an ongoing investigation indicate there was no physical abuse by the Neptune Township Police Department.

The preliminary investigation indicated that Thomas had an unconfirmed medical episode while in custody. An autopsy was performed, and the cause of her death is pending the toxicology results.

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