Inmate Found Dead

A Johnston County Jail inmate who was found unresponsive in his cell Thursday has died.

Detention center staff found 61 year-old Edward Charles Cowdrey Jr. of Toler Road, Princeton unresponsive in his cell.  Johnston County EMS responded to the jail and performed CPR but efforts to save his life were not successful.

Johnston County Sheriff’s Captain Jeff Caldwell said the North Carolina SBI was contacted to conduct an independent investigation into the death, which is standard procedure anytime a death occurs with anyone in custody.

Cowdrey was alone in his locked jail cell when he was found unresponsive, Caldwell said.

On Friday, the NC Medical Examiner ruled his death due to natural causes. An official said his death was attributed to heart disease with contributing factors of obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure and chronic lung disease.

Cowdrey had been in the Johnston County Jail since February 20th after his arrest on first degree sex offense with a child and taking indecent liberties with a minor charges.  The alleged offenses occurred over 4 years ago but had only been reported to authorities in late-January of this year.