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Man found dead in New Hanover County detention center, Sheriff’s office turns investigation over to SBI

The New Hanover County Sheriff's Office detention center.
Benjamin Schachtman
The New Hanover County Sheriff's Office detention center.

The man, who had been detained since mid-July, was found dead last week. Only very limited information has been released, and the cause of death remains under investigation by the state. 

According to the New Hanover County Sheriff’s Office, 36-year-old Leon Goodwin was found dead on July 26. Goodwin had been at the county detention facility for about a week and a half.

The State Bureau of Investigation (SBI) is currently handling the investigation of Goodwin’s death. Officials with the New Hanover County Sheriff’s Office (NHCSO) said that while turning an ‘in-custody death’ investigation over to the state is not mandatory, it is considered a ‘best practice.’

Goodwin's cause of death remains under investigation and no autopsy results have been publicly released yet, and the autopsy may not yet have been conducted.

Goodwin was arrested for two misdemeanor charges around midnight on July 15. According to NHCSO, he was trespassed from the LINC transitional living facility located at 222 Division Drive. The non-profit facility is dedicated to helping men and women reenter society after returning from incarceration. The facility is listed as Goodwin’s address on court paperwork but it’s not clear if he was a resident at the time. A representative for LINC said the facility doesn’t discuss current or former residents in order to respect their privacy.

Goodwin was charged with 2nd-degree trespassing and resisting arrest, according to NHCSO arrest records. One charge of felony assault on an officer causing serious injury was later added, according to New Hanover County court records.

Editor’s note: If you knew Leon Goodwin, or know someone who did, and would like to share information about him, his life, and what might have led to his death, contact us at bschachtman@whqr.org

Ben Schachtman is a journalist and editor with a focus on local government accountability. He began reporting for Port City Daily in the Wilmington area in 2016 and took over as managing editor there in 2018. He’s a graduate of Rutgers College and later received his MA from NYU and his PhD from SUNY-Stony Brook, both in English Literature. He loves spending time with his wife and playing rock'n'roll very loudly. You can reach him at BSchachtman@whqr.org and find him on Twitter @Ben_Schachtman.