Reynoldsburg officer accused of drug charges commits suicide

Another inmate died that same day; the sheriff's office said the cases are not related.

Tye Downard

DELAWARE, Ohio (WCMH)– The Reynoldsburg Police Department confirmed that Tye L. Downard committed suicide Monday while in custody at the Delaware County Jail.

Tye Downard
Tye Downard

According to the Delaware County Sheriff’s Office, Downard, 43, of Westerville, was found dead at about 1:30am Monday after hourly inmate checks.

Deputies said Downard had hanged himself in his single-person jail cell.

Sheriff Russell Martin said another inmate died overnight but said the cases were not linked. He said the other inmate, Rhianna Filichia, had “recent medical issues” and died at the hospital.

Rhianna Filichia (CREDIT: Delaware County Sheriff's Office)
Rhianna Filichia (CREDIT: Delaware County Sheriff’s Office)

Detectives continue to investigate both deaths.

Downard was facing federal charges of possession of drugs with the intent to distribute.

According to federal investigators, Downard made more than 20 deliveries of narcotics, including heroin, cocaine, marijuana and Percocet pills, between October 2015 and February 2016.

Court documents allege that Downard delivered drugs to an individual to sell on 21 different occasions.

The complaint further alleges that Downard seized blue-and-white Percocet pills during a search warrant and provided blue-and-white Percocet pills to the individual to sell two days later.

Franklin County Prosecutor Ron O’Brien already plans to review as many as 50 of detective Tye Downard’s cases. Some closed, and some still pending.

“People have to have confidence in the system,” he said. “We can’t have cases that are suspect because he was involved.”

O’Brien is already dropping charges in State v. Mark A. Smith. He says that could be the first of many.

Downard’s defense attorney Sam Shamansky says he planned to defend his client to the fullest.

“He was as fine an officer as I’ve ever met,” Shamansky said, speaking to NBC4 via Skype from a beach vacation.

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