Straits death investigation update

After a several months long investigation, which included the District Attorney’s Office and N.C. Office of the Chief Medical Examiner, the death of Lee Ann Gallagher, 57, of the Straits community has been ruled a drug overdose. Findings from the scene, interviews, autopsy process, and further investigative follow- ups found no evidence that a homicide of other assault-related injury caused Gallagher’s death.

On the evening of December 21, 2023, this Office received the full autopsy and toxicology report which listed Gallagher’s cause of death as Methamphetamine Intoxication in which the level was in excess of three times over the lethal dose of Methamphetamine in her system. The autopsy found no broken bones or other significant injuries, aside from superficial bruising and abrasions to include no findings consistent with a sexual assault.

As listed in the investigative report from the Local Medical Examiner, there was cloth like material in Gallagher’s mouth, but it was found that this material did not cause a definitive airway obstruction, as listed in the autopsy report. This investigation also found that Gallagher had been verbalizing and documenting suicidal ideations in the recent days prior to her death. Witness statements corroborate that Gallagher had been acting very strange in the days leading up to her death, which is believed to have been caused by illicit drug usage, which she had a reported history of.

Release from 05/24/2023, Straits death investigation underway

The Carteret County Sheriff’s Office is currently investigating the death of Lee Ann Gallagher, 57, of Whitehurst Drive in the community of Straits. Gallagher was found deceased in her home on Sunday, 05/21/2023. At the current time Gallagher is scheduled for an autopsy in Greenville on Friday to determine cause of death.

This is a developing case and detectives are investigating the death as a homicide until otherwise determined. No further details can be released at this time. Anyone with information on this incident is asked to call Crime Stoppers at (252) 726-INFO or the Carteret County Sheriff’s Office at (252) 728-8400.