GBI: Dawson County inmate death due to combined drug intoxication


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.”

Fetch Your News is a hyper local news outlet that covers Dawson, Lumpkin, White, Fannin, Gilmer, Pickens, Union, Towns and Murray counties as well as Cherokee County in N.C. FYN attracts 300,000+ page views per month, 3.5 million impressions per month and approximately 15,000 viewers per week on and up to 60,000 Facebook page reach. If you would like to follow up-to-date local events in any of those counties, please visit us at



  1. GenEarly July 30, 2020 at 9:16 am

    Picture of abide young man and I’m sure his family is devastated. But WHO took the drugs? If he had made it home would his parents taken him to a ER? Or just let him sleep it off?
    While there are protocols the Sheriff’s office should have followed, RESPONSIBILITY lies on the boy’s head. Take the drugs, get drunk, and many people do, the consequences are with you know who.
    Sueing the Sheriff’s office misses the point, but is typical of shifting the blame to someone else.

    • Bill Johnson July 30, 2020 at 10:37 am

      Thank you for reading Fetch Your News.

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