A Charlotte County man accused of dozens of sex crimes against children was found dead Monday morning in his jail cell.
James Palmucci, 48, initially faced 83 sex crime charges after his arrest last month in Englewood East. Those charges ranged from lewd and lascivious molestation on children under 12, with some other victims between the ages of 12 and 16. He also faced charges of battery of a child by throwing certain fluids.
Palmucci was in the general population pod at the Charlotte County Jail, with similar classified inmates and was housed alone in a cell, the sheriff’s office said.
“Per policy, corrections deputies walk the pod once every 60 minutes to ensure the safety and security of all inmates. Around 6 a.m. prior to shift change, James Palmucci was observed in his cell,” CCSO said in a press release.
Jail staff went to notify Palmucci of the morning’s court appearance and found him dead in his cell with fabric around his neck. Detention members and jail medical staff performed life-saving measures while awaiting medics, the sheriff’s office said.
“Shortly after a shift change, we discovered an inmate that was unresponsive in his cell,” said Capt. Melissa Turney with CCSO.
The sheriff’s office said no one had threatened Palmucci during his stay in the jail and no one who had contact him recalled him to ever allude to self-harm.
CCSO said an autopsy will be conducted.
“He did have an arraignment this morning, so a lot of people, when they’re faced with a lot of different types of investigations, you don’t know what they’re thinking. Obviously, he thought the worst so he made the decision at that point to, you know, to go forward with what his plans were at that time,” said Lt. John Heck.
Palmucci faced life in prison if convicted. The sheriff’s office spent Monday not only notifying his family but the families of his many suspected victims.
“We still gotta protect our victims. We had a good amount of evidence towards him, obviously,” Heck said.
The focus now is getting those victims and their families the help and services they need. The sheriff’s office said they’d still like anyone who fears their child knew or might have been a victim of Palmucci to come forward. Even with his death, they can help.