Shamokin PA

Coroner: CT man died from self-inflicted hanging in cell

COAL TOWNSHIP — Northumberland County Coroner James F. Kelley confirmed Wednesday that a 27-year-old Coal Township man died Oct. 1 from a self-inflicted hanging in a holding cell at Coal Township Police Station.

Kelley said Joshua Spurgeon, of 1526 Pulaski Ave., was pronounced dead by a physician in the emergency room at Geisinger-Shamokin Area Community shortly after his arrival from Coal Township Police Station.

Kelley said Spurgeon was administered CPR by paramedics from AREA Services at the police station before being transported by ambulance to the hospital. He said resuscitation efforts also were made during the transport.

A call had been placed to Northumberland County Communications Center at 6:43 p.m. Oct. 1 for a suicide attempt at the police station.

The coroner said an autopsy was conducted Oct. 3 by Dr. Rameen Starling-Roney, a forensic pathologist, at Lehigh Valley Hospital in Allentown that determined the cause of death.

Kelley said the investigation revealed that Spurgeon’s death was not suspicious in any way. He said Coal Township police on duty at the time didn’t do anything wrong as proven by video that captured the incident.

He said Spurgeon was alone in the cell when he hanged himself. Although it has not been confirmed what Spurgeon used to hang himself, a drawstring from his cut-off sweatpants that he reportedly hid from police may have been used.

Spurgeon reportedly had been taken by police to Coal Township Police Station following a domestic dispute.

Kelley said his part of the investigation is closed. But he couldn’t say if state police at Stonington, who were quickly assigned the probe to avoid any potential conflict of interest, are continuing their investigation.

Efforts to reach Cpl. Kevin Kearney, the lead investigator, were unsuccessful.

The News-Item was initially informed of Spurgeon’s death by family members.