GBI: Dawson County inmate death due to combined drug intoxication

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The Georgia Bureau of Investigation Medical Examiner has ruled the 18-year-old Dawson County inmate found dead in a cell on June 2, died due to a combined drug intoxication.

Jonathan Sanford who had just graduated from high school and was planning to attend college in the Fall, was arrested on a DUI charge and possession of marijuana. He was found dead in his cell the next day by a Dawson County jailer.

Although the cause of death has been established, the GBI is continuing its investigation. The Sanford family wants to know if their son was given a medical examination and placed on watch. Dawson County Sheriff’s Office Policy and Procedures requires inmates believed to be under the influence of drugs be “kept under close observation.”

The family has hired attorney AJ Richman to conduct a separate investigation to determine whether jail personnel failures contributed to his death.

“Georgia’s sheriffs are responsible for every aspect of a detainee’s health and welfare,” said Richman. “Our local government needs to be transparent, and we are calling upon the sheriff to share with us how Jonathan died in their custody.”

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