A suspect arrested after a 14-hour standoff with police in the Keys was found dead in his cell on Sunday morning, according to the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office.
Christopher Cox, 25, was being held on federal firearms charges. Corrections deputies found Cox hanging from the neck at 4:10 a.m., sheriff’s spokeswoman Becky Herrin said.
“They immediately began performing CPR,” she said.
The Florida Department of Law Enforcement will investigate the death at the Stock Island Detention Center.
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Cox and his girlfriend were involved last week in an armed standoff in Marathon, ending the Tennessee couple’s run from police with a child reported missing.
It also ended in the seizure of $90,000 in cash, which might have been part of a larger theft.
Herrin said the $90,000 was found in the house at 598 50th St. bayside where Cox had barricaded himself with a Kimber Custom II 1911 .45-caliber handgun Tuesday. After threatening police and to kill himself throughout the night, Monroe sheriff’s deputies took Cox into custody Wednesday morning. No one was injured.
Juan Llera, an agent with the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, wrote in an arrest affidavit filed Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Key West that Cox had previously been convicted in Tennessee of theft of property worth between $1,000 and $10,000, a felony. Since he possessed the handgun and is a convicted felon, Cox was federally charged.
Cox and his 23-year-old girlfriend Jaclyn Wall had brought her 6-year-old son on a joy ride south and were on the run for almost a month from their hometown of Burns, Tennessee, west of Nashville in Dickson County.
The Dickson County (Tenn.) Sheriff’s Office issued a warrant for Cox’s arrest on Sept. 12 because he violated a court order from the theft charge, Herrin said. Wall was wanted for custodial interference after she failed to show up in court on Tuesday for a custody trial involving her and the child’s biological father.
Dickson County Sheriff’s Office Detective Clint Hopper said it is unknown exactly when Cox and Wall left Tennessee, but Wall’s son was reported missing Sept. 22 by his biological father, after which he was granted emergency custody on Sept. 28.
“There is a gap of time where we don’t know where they were, but at some point they ended up in Florida. They were driving Wall’s mother’s car, which they abandoned at some point in a hotel parking lot in Naples,” Herrin said.
Wednesday after the standoff, the couple told Keys deputies they had spent some time in Miami, where they bought a truck and the handgun, Herrin said. Cox also reportedly told deputies he knew he couldn’t own a gun but that “people were after him and his girl.”
Hopper could not verify whether the cash recovered at the scene Wednesday was connected to a burglary reported by the couple in early September in Burns.
Cox and Wall had been staying at her parents’ home in Burns while they were on vacation in late August, Herrin said. Around that time, they filed a report with the Dickson County Sheriff’s Office claiming the home had been burglarized and Wall’s father’s truck and a large gun safe had been stolen, Herrin said.
Jewelry, guns and $200,000 cash had been locked in the safe. On Sept. 5, the guns and safe were recovered in Dickson County. On Wednesday, Wall reportedly told Monroe County detectives that they hid the jewelry from the safe outside her parents’ house. The jewelry has yet to be recovered, Hopper said.
Cox and Wall were not being charged in the Keys, but were booked into the Monroe County Detention Center on Stock Island to await extradition to Tennessee.
Katie Atkins: 305-440-3219