Haywood Sheriff: No foul play in Clyde crawlspace death

Haywood Sheriff: No foul play in Clyde crawlspace death Kyle Perrotti photo

A Clyde man who'd been missing since Oct. 29 of last year and was found dead in a crawl space last month likely died of an overdose, Haywood County Sheriff Bill Wilke said.

On Oct. 29, 2023, Joshua Lee Wayne Seagraves was reported missing to the Haywood County Sheriff’s Office. He was last seen on Oct. 14, 2023, and at the time of his disappearance, a probation officer was seeking him for a post release check. An investigation commenced, and several interviews took place to determine his whereabouts. Multiple Probation checks were attempted at the residence after Mr. Seagraves was reported missing.

A press release sent out by the sheriff's office states that investigators conducted a canvas of the neighborhood, along with multiple interviews with several persons of interest.

"The investigation to that point concerning the whereabouts of Joshua Seagraves was found to be based solely on rumors and speculation with no supporting evidence," the release reads.

On Jan. 26, Seagraves was discovered deceased under the crawl space of his last known location at 167 James St., in Clyde, a duplex, by a maintenance worker. The area was sealed and vented to disperse moisture and air from under the house to the outside in a way that made any odor undetectable until the crawl space was opened.

"Once discovered, our office was contacted, and a search warrant was obtained," the release reads. "A thorough processing of the scene revealed evidence that Mr. Seagraves was deceased in the crawl space for a period of time consistent with the last time he was seen. He had his wallet in his pocket, and nearby was a small empty baggie, a straw, a lighter, and a syringe with a small amount of clear liquid still in it. There is no evidence to indicate that Mr. Seagraves came into the crawl space by any means other than his own willful actions."

An autopsy performed on Jan. 29, revealed there were no signs of blunt force trauma or inflicted wounds to the body of Mr. Seagraves, nor was there any other evidence of foul play. Toxicology results have not yet been determined, and during a brief press conference, Wilke said he did not yet know the specific cause and manner of death.

"Since elected Sheriff, my commitment to stopping the scourge of illicit drug use remains unwavering, in large part because of tragedies such as this. My heartfelt condolences go out to the family and true friends of Josh Seagraves, and I pray they may find peace in the near future," Wilke said in the release. "As for those suffering from addiction, there is help. Reach out. We have a programs manager that can lead you to the road of recovery. We work and hope for happy and productive lives for all of our citizens.

"As for those engaged in the sale or use of illegal drugs, stop now, or stay out of Haywood County. We will find you. We will prosecute you. You will spend as much time as I can get a court of law to place you in prison for, so that the pain and heartache of a loss such as this does not find its way into another Haywood County family."

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