Investigators with the Bryson City Police Department have been piecing together details surrounding the death of 21-year-old Jeremy Robinson.
On November 29 at 4:28 a.m. Bryson City Police Officer Graham Page was responding to a call involving a confrontation at the Hot Spot along Highway 19. While in route, Page noticed a body lying on the side of the road, about a mile from the Hot Spot. Officer Page immediately began to provide lifesaving treatment and continued to do so until emergency personnel arrived on scene and took over.
The body was determined to be recently deceased at which point Bryson City Police Chief Greg Jones was notified and reported to the scene.
“Once I arrived on scene, we were notified by the medical examiner that the body, which was later identified as Jeremy Robinson, was deceased,” said Jones. “The death investigation immediately began.”
Chief Jones said that the original dispatch call involving the disturbance at the Hot Spot was related to the death, as the last place Robinson was seen alive, was in that parking lot a short time earlier. The dispatch call was in reference to a disturbance involving a vehicle at the Hot Spot – that vehicle – a 2003 PT Cruiser — was later located near the Swain County Sheriff’s Office and the three vehicle occupants – driver Autumn Leford, Alex Dillard and Maurice Jackson were detained for questioning.
“All three of the subject’s stories were consistent, that he jumped out of the vehicle in a suicide attempt, but I am just not buying it,” said Jones.
While the coroner’s report says Robinson died from trauma to the right rear side of the head, Jones said although the wounds during the initial investigation aligned with the story that Robinson had jumped, or fallen, or was even pushed from the vehicle, the questions Chief Jones wants answers to are how he left the vehicle and why.
Jones has requested a full toxicology report, which could take 6-8 months.
“With my training and experience, it just doesn’t make sense,” said Chief Jones. “Something just doesn’t seem right. I don’t know if narcotics were involved, or if he was trying to get away from something or someone, but I am just not buying that he jumped.”
According to Chief, the subjects in the car, including the driver Ledford, were all released and no arrests have been made to date. After piecing together portions of the days prior to Robinson’s death, Jones said it was determined that Robinson had spent the four days prior to his death with Ledford, whom he met at the Ugly Dog Public House in Highlands.
From there, Ledford and Robinson travelled to Haywood County where they picked up Alex Dillard, who was also in the car at the time of the incident. After picking up Dillard, they traveled to Swain County, although Chief Jones said it is unclear why they were in Bryson City as only one of the occupants of the vehicle had any ties to the town. Bryson City Police Department is working with Macon County law enforcement including Highlands Police Department in an effort to gain additional details. The State Bureau of Investigation is also assisting in the investigation, as well as the Alcohol Law Enforcement. If anyone has any information concerning the case, Chief Jones asks that they call 828-488-3050 or 828-488-2196.
Pictured at the top of the article is Jeremy Robinson.
By Kim Lewicki, Highlands Newspaper