JD News article
Authorities say a Friday medical exam of an inmate suspected of hiding a pistol in his rectum found no signs of injury. Onslow County Sheriff Ed Brown told The Daily News Saturday that it has not been confirmed if Michael Leon Ward, 22, of Canton, Ga., snuck the gun into the Onslow County Jail as a search warrant and a sheriff's office press release indicated. “I don’t know if they could verify it or not; there was no damage. We did not take him there for verification, only to find out if he had injuries,” Brown said. Onslow Memorial Hospital staff declined to comment. Ward was placed in the Onslow County Jail Monday morning by the North Carolina Highway Patrol after allegedly passing a trooper at 90 mph on U.S. 17 and resisting arrest. While behind bars, Ward alerted jailers to a .38-caliber pistol he said he found in his bunk and subsequently threw into the toilet. There were no bullets in the gun and none were found in the cell, according to the OCSO. How the gun ended up in Ward’s cell remains under investigation, Brown said. Brown told The Daily News that detainees and inmates are subject to pat downs to determine if they have a weapon and strip searches if they are to be sent to a cell block. “Every procedure necessary was followed,” he said. Ward was initially searched by the trooper upon arrest and by Onslow County deputies during the booking process at the Onslow County Jail, according to a Friday news release from the sheriff’s office. He was then strip searched prior to being placed into a cell block, Brown said. The jail has metal detecting wands that Brown said are not typically used in conjunction with a strip search. “I don’t know if metal wands were used (on Ward) since he was strip searched; it would not be an issue there,” he said. “Normally they are used when an inmate has clothing on.” He said his office is exploring the possibility of installing a body scan detector for the new jail facility, which would determine if anything were hidden in a body cavity. Currently a search warrant is necessary for a body cavity search, Brown said. “That’s what we did in this case,” he said. Ward is currently being held in Onslow County Jail without bond awaiting extradition to Georgia where he is wanted in connection to an October homicide. He was charged late Thursday night with murder and armed robbery by the Onslow County Sheriff’s Office, using fugitive warrants from Georgia. Ward has also been charged by the OCSO with lying about his identity, resisting a public officer, possession of drug paraphernalia and simple possession of a Schedule VI controlled substance. He has been charged by the Highway Patrol with driving while impaired, speeding, unlawful passing of an emergency vehicle, reckless driving to endanger the public, resisting a public officer, providing fictitious information and no operators license. No charges related to possession of the gun at the jail had been filed as of Saturday. Brown said the sheriff’s office investigation is ongoing.