Local News

Autopsy: Durham inmate died of drug overdose

Posted July 19, 2018 11:27 a.m. EDT
Updated July 19, 2018 5:42 p.m. EDT

— An inmate died two months ago in the Durham County jail following a drug overdose, according to an autopsy report released Thursday.

Deshawn Devonte Evans, 23, was found dead in his cell on May 27, becoming the 13th inmate to die in the jail in the last 10 years.

Tests on his blood found heroin, fentanyl and acetyl fentanyl in his system, and the medical examiner found no injuries that would have contributed to his death, according to the autopsy report.

Evans' parents have questioned the circumstances surrounding his death, suggesting jail staff weren't doing their jobs properly.

A report from the Durham County Sheriff's Office, which operates the jail, states that Evans had been checked on twice in the hour before he was found dead, as required.

He had been in jail since last October on a robbery charge, so it remains unclear how he got access to enough drugs to overdose. The autopsy report states a white powder was found in his cell.

"For him to be able to get drugs while he’s locked up, I can’t wrap my mind around that yet," Evans' father, Lewis Jacobs, said Thursday. "I know the only way that drugs is in a facility is by staff. That’s what I suspect.

"No matter what somebody does to get in jail, [the staff's] job is to oversee that person while they’re in their custody," Jacobs added. "That’s their job, and somebody didn’t do their job. ... A lot of people dropped the ball on him."

Spokeswoman AnnMarie Breen said the sheriff's office is still investigating Evans' death.

The State Bureau of Investigation also is investigating whether detention officers followed proper procedures in the case.

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