Surry jail inmate found dead

Sheriff says prisoner committed suicide

By John Peters jpeters@mtairynews.com

An inmate serving time for a probation violation at the Surry County Sheriff’s Office Detention Center committed suicide Saturday night, according to a written statement issued by the sheriff’s office Monday afternoon.

According to the release, from Sheriff Steve C. Hiatt, the inmate’s name was Donnie Matthews. He “used his bed linens to commit suicide within the single cell block where the inmate was housed,” the sheriff said in the statement.

“Detention staff located the inmate and immediately started emergency medical care (CPR). Surry County Emergency Medical Services was notified and responded quickly to the detention center to assist in rendering care. The inmate passed at the scene,” he said.

The sheriff nor his office initially released any information on Matthew’s age, why he was in jail, how long he had been incarcerated, what charges had been placed against him, or where he was from. Responding to media inquiries, the office said Matthews had been incarcerated since May 4, serving 45 days for a probation violation. No other information was released, with the sheriff instead referring all inquires to the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation, which is probing the death.

Angie Grube, public information director for the SBI, said Tuesday morning that Matthews was 52 and a Surry County resident, but said she could release no additional information while the investigation into his death was still active. She did say an official cause of death would not be determined until the conclusion of an autopsy.