HomeFeaturedMeigs County Deputy Robert John "R.J." Leonard, Jr. and Female Prisoner Drown

Meigs County Deputy Robert John “R.J.” Leonard, Jr. and Female Prisoner Drown

Meigs County is a rural has many areas with bad radio and cellphone reception areas.

Meigs County Sheriff’s Deputy Robert John “R.J.” Leonard, Jr and a female prisoner he was transporting to jail drowned when his patrol vehicle was swept away by the Tennessee River.

Burnsville police officers and firefighter. Credit: Burnsville PD

Tennessee Police Benevolent Association Press Release

The Southeast Tennessee Chapter of the Tennessee Police Benevolent Association and the Police Benevolent Foundation is asking for your assistance in financial support to the family of Deputy Robert John “R.J.” Leonard, Jr. of the Meigs Sheriff’s Office, who died in the line of duty.

On February 14th, Deputy Leonard responded to a call at 9:48 p.m. of reports of a man and woman fighting on a bridge over the Tennessee River near Birchwood. Three minutes later, Deputy Leonard said he was taking a female into custody and was transporting her to the Meigs County jail. About 12 minutes later, according to authorities, an incomplete radio transmission was received. A closer observation of the transmission found that Deputy Leonard may have said “water.” This part of Tennessee is very isolated and rural, making it difficult at times for cellphone reception and the transmission of radio signals. When further contact couldn’t be made, a search ensued. Cellphone and tracking data from the app Life 360 led responders to the area near the Blythe Ferry boat ramp, where officials said several other vehicles have rolled into the water.

The next day, Deputy Leonard’s car was located upside down in the Tennessee River with a female subject in the back seat. The driver’s side window of the vehicle was rolled down, but his body was not inside the vehicle. Deputy Leonard’s body was recovered later.

Deputy Leonard had only been with the Sheriff’s Office for a little over two months.

He is survived by his wife Christa Leonard and their children, Zachary, Evan, Kailynn, Aubrey, and Isabelle along with his Mother, two siblings, several nieces, nephews, and other extended family and friends.

Please help in providing support for this fallen hero’s family.

Please donate at the link below.

100% of the funds received by the PBF will go to Deputy Leonard’s family.

Source: Local 3 News

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