It was late Sunday night (May 31, 2015) when I read the terse report that Former Cleveland County Sheriff Dan Crawford had died of a self inflicted gunshot wound. Within twenty four hours I was reading more statements and comments about Dan Crawford that painted a picture of a Saint who could do no wrong, that everybody loved. Something just seemed wrong about this.
First: Neither of the articles got Dan Crawford’s name right. I believe Dan stood for Daniel and his middle name or middle initial was completely missing. Dan Crawford listed his name as “Dan G. Crawford” on his filing for Sheriff with the Board of Elections. Apparently nobody at the Star bothered to even look it up. Or ask.
Second: No information has been provided that would confirm that the fatal wound, or wounds, were self inflicted. Any man with twenty nine years of law enforcement experience has made some enemies. Perhaps many enemies. Any reasonable person would recognize that fact. Another fact is Dan Crawford’s terms in office as the Sheriff of Cleveland County was often marked with controversy. The Asha Degree investigator was fired amid a large controversy that included former Star Editor Skippy Foster going on an interview in Fallston with the investigator which Skippy secretly tape recorded. The drugs missing from the evidence room and the setup drug purchase that sent Deputy Otis Mayrock Smith to prison. Etc. Etc. Etc.
Third: Sheriff Dan G. Crawford became the first ever duly elected Sheriff to be defeated in a run for reelection. The candidate to defeat Crawford was Sheriff Raymond Hamrick, who became the second ever duly elected Sheriff to be defeated in a run for reelection. In any event, the majority of the people in Cleveland County had lost confidence in Sheriff Dan G. Crawford’s abilities as Sheriff.
And Fourth: A source who is well connected with law enforcement officials in Cleveland County has stated that a secret investigation is presently ongoing regarding the prospect that former Sheriff Dan G. Crawford was murdered.
As a person that was involved with electing Dan G. Crawford, with unelecting Sheriff Dan Crawford and being involved in a legal disagreement with Sheriff Dan Crawford, I can state from personal experience that Dan Crawford was human with human qualities that were mostly good but were sometimes bad. It is a tragedy that Dan G. Crawford was killed. It would be certainly a greater tragedy if Dan G. Crawford was murdered in his own home.
The purpose of this article is to cause people to think for themselves regarding the information they have at their disposal. I would also urge law enforcement and the Shelby Star to be more forthcoming with clear, cogent, convincing and true information that is released to the citizens in Cleveland County. I can remember the three elderly women who were murdered in Shelby that were first reported to have died of old age despite their telephone wires being cut. It took years to ever find a suspect and make criminal charges in maybe one of those murders. All the while, if the public had been properly informed regarding the first murder, the families of the other two murdered elderly women would have surely paid more attention to protecting them.
Lastly, Law Enforcement, tell us convincingly and under no uncertain terms that the cause of death of former Sheriff Dan G. Crawford was either suicide or murder. If it was murder, show us a jail report that the perpetrator is incarcerated and will face trial soon.