Officials: Officer died of accidental asphyxiation

tchitwood@ledger-enquirer.comFebruary 5, 2014 



Authorities said Wednesday that Muscogee County Sheriff's Capt. Larry Tew died from accidental asphyxiation, but would disclose no additional details.

The initial incident report filed by Columbus police reveals few specifics. It says that Tew died between 1 p.m. and 1:28 p.m. Sunday, and that officers were summoned to the captain's County Line Road home at 1:42 p.m. It lists no cause of death.

Apparently the detectives included all additional details on a supplemental police report, which, unlike the first two pages of their initial report, is not available to the public.

Although Muscogee County Sheriff John Darr visited Tew's home upon hearing the news Sunday and spoke to Coroner Buddy Bryan there, Darr maintained Wednesday that he has not been informed of the precise circumstances of Tew's death, nor the outcome of the police investigation.

He knows Bryan believes Tew died accidentally, but he has heard nothing more, he said.

"Nobody from the police department has called me up and told me anything else," Darr said. "As far as I know, they're still doing all their stuff and looking into it. … I know what the coroner said -- it was accidental, but no one has told me exactly, saying, 'Hey, John, this is exactly what happened.'"

Bryan said a relative accompanied by a friend who's dating one of Tew's two daughters found the body in Tew's bedroom after the daughter became concerned no one was answering the calls she made home from work. Tew's wife and the other daughter were out of town that day, the coroner said.

Tew, 58, had worked for the sheriff's office more than 35 years, most recently handling personnel and hiring. The coroner said that before his death, Tew had been in good health and high spirits, and looking forward to retiring soon.

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