TRENTON, N.C. (WITN) – Jones County is remembering Sheriff Danny Heath who died suddenly on Monday.
This morning a sheriff’s van is parked on the lawn of the courthouse in Trenton with flowers and a large black wreath on its front. A flag at the sheriff’s office is flying at half-staff.
Jones County Resident, Ruth Willaford says she was shocked when she heard of Heath’s passing. “I thought it was terrible for such a person that we have in Jones County.”
County leaders are also surprised. “Shocked really, is the operative word. I can’t express my regret for the family,” said Jones County Board of Commissioners Vice Chairman, Charlie Dunn.
The 52-year-old Heath had served as sheriff since first being elected in 2010. He is a graduate of Carteret Technical College and is a veteran of the U.S. Navy where he served in the Gulf War in 1991.
Jones County District Attorney, Ernie Lee remembered what kind of person Heath was saying, “I could count on him to be there willing to work hard and I’m just really going to miss his counsel, his advice and his work ethic,” he said.
A news release said Heath died peacefully while at his home with his wife and two children. It did not go into any details about the circumstances of his death and asked for privacy as the sheriff’s family and the sheriff’s office grieves.
“We may not find exactly another Sheriff Heath, but I’m hoping we can find something close, but again, it’s going to be some hard, some big shoes to fill,” Lee said.
The county said Chief Deputy Matt Wineman will be acting sheriff for the time being until the November 2022 election.
County officials say they are finalizing details for a memorial service and ask the community to follow their facebook page for more details.
CONDOLENCES FOR SHERIFF HEATH
Lenoir County Sheriff Ronnie Ingram was among those expressing condolences over the death of the 52-year-old sheriff.
Lenoir County sent out a news release stating, “Lenoir County Sheriff Ronnie Ingram would like to express his condolences to the family of Jones County Sheriff Danny Heath, the dedicated employees of the Jones County Sheriff’s Office and the residents of Jones County for the loss of their beloved Sheriff. Sheriff Heath was a dedicated servant to the citizens of Jones County for many years. His love for Jones County showed through every day he was working. We are saddened by his loss and will be praying for his family and employees.”
Jones County Commissioner Charlie Dunn Jr. says, “He will be greatly missed by many of the residents in the county, especially the local government officials. We all worked closely together. Everyone is shocked.”
Craven County Sheriff Chip Hughes wrote on Facebook, “I will miss my good friend and fellow Sheriff Danny Heath. Thank you sir for your guidance and always there to help out in any way. You will be missed my friend.”
Pitt County Sheriff Paula Dance is also expressing her condolences saying, “Our thoughts and prayers are with his family, blood and blue, in this difficult time.”
Carteret County Sheriff Asa Buck says, “We are deeply saddened by the passing of Jones County Sheriff Danny Heath. Our prayers and condolences are extended to his family, friends, colleagues, and the entire community of Jones County during this difficult time.”
Congressman Greg Murphy also offered his condolences saying, “Today our community mourns the passing of a tremendous local leader and friend. Jones County Sheriff Danny Heath will be dearly missed. We are praying for his family and loved ones tonight.”
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