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PENDER COUNTY, NC (WWAY) — The death of an inmate in Pender County is under state investigation and an internal review.

The Pender County Sheriff’s Office says at about 6:30 p.m. Thursday, a detention officer making rounds found Zachary Bruns, 18, unresponsive. The sheriff’s office says jail staff immediately started medical care and called for EMS, which took Bruns to the hospital.

Bruns, of Currie, was released from custody Saturday while in the hospital. He died Monday.

Because Bruns was found unresponsive while in custody, Sheriff Carson Smith has asked the SBI and District Attorney Ben David to investigate what happened. The sheriff’s office says an internal investigation is also underway and that preliminary indications are that the detention officers on duty followed state rules and sheriff’s office guidelines.

Bruns was in jail on a probation violation. The NC Department of Corrections website shows Bruns was placed on probation last year after being convicted larceny and alcohol possession/consumption. Bruns also had several pending drug and alcohol-related cases in Pender and New Hanover counties.

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21 Comments on "Inmate death investigated in Pender County"

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paul Thomson
2016 years 7 hours ago

I have to agree with what is said in this comment.I have heard the Jail is running on a very short staff. As for it being a do as I say and not what I do kinda place this is so true. I have heard from many people of my staff members who get away with violations that a normal person would be fired for. I feel for this family and pray the truth comes out. i can say That it seems that Sheriff needs to look at the jail administrator and her staff. There is so much that is… Read more »

2016 years 7 hours ago

First off the inmate was of age to be housed as adult. He committed a probation violation and that’s why he was there. He was in a cell by himself due to a injury. He obviously passed the standard mental health screening when he was booked in. Checked on by staff 2 times a hour. That’s where the story needs a good investigator to do the background. For instance the kid had a questionable childhood from what friends say. He used drugs and possible performed questionable deeds to pay for what he needed. … Read more »

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