Discovery of inmate's body in creek prompts more questions about - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Discovery of inmate's body in creek prompts more questions about Louisville jail system

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Days after an inmate disappeared from a low security jail, he showed up face-down, dead in a Louisville creek. Police say he wasn't murdered, but it's bringing a whole new round of questions about Louisville's jail system.

When Stephanie Shoemaker heard news of a body found in the creek at the Woodridge Lake subdivision, she did not think of her son. 

"I'm scared somebody hurt my son," she said. "He was a good kid. He deserved more than this."

In the past 24 hours, she got the call no mother wants to hear. 

"I just want to know what happened," she sobbed. "I want to know."

Police do not suspect foul play in Sean Shoemaker's death. Detectives said it's likely the result of a heroin overdose, as there was no trauma to his body -- but they're waiting on the results of a toxicology test to confirm that as a fact. 

Shoemaker's loved ones are more skeptical of how he died because of how Shoemaker body was found.

"He wouldn't have been there by himself," Stephanie Shoemaker said. "Never in a million years would he have been down there by himself." 

Stephanie Shoemaker grew weak as she wiped tears and clung to longtime family friend Kiley Patterson.  "He was face-down," Patterson explained.  "No shirt, and his pants were down to his ankles."

"I want to know who was with him -- and I'm not mad if it was an accident," she said. "I am not mad. I just want to know."

Shoemaker's death also puts a new round of questions before Louisville's embattled jail system. The 21-year-old had just been assigned to the Louisville Community Correctional Center -- a low-security jail on east Chestnut Street downtown. Inmates come and go on work release each day. 

Metro Corrections spokesman Steve Durham confirmed Shoemaker left Friday and never returned.

"This just adds to our confusion about how things are going at the jail, why people end up in certain situations at the jail and what are we doing to address those issues," said David James, a Metro Council member who represents District 6 in Louisville. 

Durham said Louisville Metro Corrections took out an escape warrant at 4pm Friday. The jail staff never told the public or the media of a missing inmate -- or the people who may have been able to help find him. 

"I always knew where to find my son," said Stephanie Shoemaker. "He couldn't hide from me nowhere. He was my baby." 

Stephanie Shoemaker believes the difference could have been life and death. 

Shoemaker leaves behind two young children. Loved ones are hosting a memorial near where his body was found off Woodridge Lane and Dearing Road, Thursday at 6 p.m.

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