Detective William Thomas Whitehead

Detective William Thomas Whitehead

Jacksonville Police Department, North Carolina

End of Watch Thursday, May 28, 1981

William Thomas Whitehead

Detective William Whitehead drowned after being beaten unconscious, handcuffed, and pushed into a river by two suspects.

Detective Whitehead was questioning the two men outside of a bar on suspicion of sexually assaulting a juvenile female. The two men attacked him and handcuffed him behind the back with his own handcuffs. They then threw him into the New River, under the Old Bridge at, Court Street. A medical examination determined that Detective Whitehead was alive when he was thrown into the river.

Both suspects were apprehended and charged with murder.

One of the suspects was convicted of first degree murder and sentenced to life in prison. He was denied parole in January 2015. The other suspect was convicted of second degree murder and sentenced to 15 years. He was paroled September 7th, 1988.

Detective Whitehead was a U.S. Marine Corps veteran of the Vietnam War and had served with the Jacksonville Police Department for five years. He was survived by his wife.


  • Age Not available
  • Tour 5 years
  • Badge Not available
  • Military Veteran

Incident Details

  • Cause Assault
  • Weapon Person
  • Offender Sentenced to life

Most Recent Reflection

View all 38 Reflections

You served and protected so many and we are greatful. Now we as a community will protect your memory and honorable service.
I have sent an email requesting denial of parole for the evil monster that took you from your wife, children and community.
Thank you for your service and ultimate sacrifice, you will not be forgotten. God bless your family both blood and blue.

Angela Calhoun
Proud Law Enforcement supporter

April 25, 2018

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