• WRIL-FM

Claiborne County inmate found deceased in his cell, TBI investigating

Updated: Oct 12

From WRIL -

Saturday night October 9, 2021, a short time before 9:00pm 26-year-old Joseph Burkhart was arrested by New Tazewell Police and transported to the Claiborne County Jail by Officer Ruskowski. He was booked into the jail at 8:56pm, charged with public intoxication and driving on a suspended license.


Some time after midnight Sunday morning the 10th. Burkhart was found unresponsive in his cell. Claiborne County EMS responded, but left the facility without Burkhart. He was declared dead shortly afterward.


Claiborne County Chief Deputy Ron Hayes responded to the jail and in turn contacted Sheriff Bob Brooks and then Tennessee Bureau of Investigation to handle the incident.


While an autopsy has been performed, results are pending and will be released at the conclusion of the investigation.


No foul play is considered at this time according to Sheriff Brooks.

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