Victim Identified in Police Custody Death

July 26, 2004 -- Posted at 6:12 p.m.

BLYTHEVILLE -- Last Friday a 26-year-old man died while in the custody of Blytheville Police.  A state investigation is underway, but relatives of the man are still questioning why he died.

"I never visualized that I would be burying my child and my child not burying me," said Bill Conley whose son is dead.

Corey Crawford was discovered not breathing after four officers arrested him.

Terry Byrd, Nick Nelson, Lee Guest and Scott Rice responded to a 911 call made from the Pear Tree Inn.

Capt. Rick Ash of the Blytheville Police Department said, "This gentleman was placed in the car and we just don't know what happened."

Police officials say that Crawford was never even a guest at the Pear Tree Inn, in fact he was check in here at the Comfort Inn, just blocks away.  But police didn't find any drugs or drug paraphernalia at the Comfort Inn either. By the time it was know that Crawford was staying there, maids had already cleaned the room. Crawford's father says he doesn't know what to believe.

"I've also heard that there was some foul play from the police department. I've heard quite a few things and those are the ones that I need more answers to at this time," said Conley.

"There's not any evidence to suggest any wrongdoing on the part of the officers," said Capt. Ash.

Initial findings from the coroner's office indicate that there were no signs of trauma. At this time, a toxicology report was not available.

Crawford's father isn't sure if his son was on drugs.

"I do and I don't. I know it's a very good possibility," said Conley.

He admits that his son has been in trouble with the law before. Crawford served four years at the Arkansas State Correctional Facility for drug charges.

"I hope the truth comes out so I can have some closure, and if it is any foul play anywhere I hope it's corrected because no one else needs to go through this," said Conley.

Funeral arrangements have been made for Crawford. Services are scheduled for 2:00 this Saturday at the End Time Holiness Church in Blytheville.