McCracken County coroner recuses himself from inmate death investigation

MCCRACKEN COUNTY, KY — A man was thrown in a detox cell, and later found unresponsive. Now, county leaders say he died under alarming circumstances.

Joshua Fuson

We’re learning more Wednesday about the death of Joshua Fuson. He was taken and booked into the McCracken County Jail Sunday. He was declared brain dead two days later.

We still do not know what charges he was arrested on. McCracken County Coroner Dan Sims originally started the investigation into Fuson’s death. Wednesday, he told me why the details of the case will not be his main concern moving forward.

“This is not a political thing. This is life or death. It’s someone’s son, father, and I don’t take that lightly,” Sims says.

Sims was originally investigating how and why Fuson died. Sims is running for jailer, but he says that’s not the reason he’s recusing himself from the investigation.

“Not one time in 23 years has my integrity ever been questioned,” Sims says. “I’ve worked thousands of deaths in 23 years.”

Sims is referring to a series of Facebook posts criticizing him sent by a person that Sims knows works at the jail. He says he’s not the one who needs to be the center of the case.

“I genuinely have some concerns,” he says. “That’s not to cast blame on anybody, but from an investigator’s standpoint and my duty as the elected coroner, I have to respond to the things I know, no matter if its good or bad, and there definitely are some alarming or concerns O have that will have to be figured out.”

Politics aside, Sims says he has a duty to the family. So, from this point forward, Livingston County Coroner Jeff Armstrong will be investigating Fuson’s death.

“I want them to know that Coroner Armstrong will take it very seriously, and he will do the fact finding and take care of those things for them,” Sims says.

Sims told me one thing that was incredibly alarming to him before he recused himself from the  investigation: When Fuson was booked into the jail and put in a restraining chair, a class D inmate was keeping an eye on him when he fell unconscious, not a deputy jailer.

Fuson’s autopsy began Wednesday in Madisonville. Preliminary results have not yet been released.

Sims sent us documents relating to Fuson’s hospitalization. You can read them below this story.

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