LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — The Nye County Sheriff’s Department reported Wednesday that former sheriff Tony DeMeo has died.
Family members said DeMeo died Tuesday at Centennial Hills Hospital after suffering a head injury days earlier at his home in Pahrump.
DeMeo served as Nye County sheriff for 12 years, leaving office in 2015.
Outgoing, and often described as outspoken, DeMeo served three terms as Nye County sheriff.
He served during a tumultuous time in Pahrump politics.
DeMeo was often at odds with then-Nye County District Attorney Bob Beckett, including after the DA’s arrest on fraud charges.
“That DA’s office doesnt’ give as much attention to those crimes as he does to the crimes against himself and the tying up of the office,” DeMeo said.
The former sheriff was in the national spotlight in 2007 as his department investigated a videotaped sexual assault of a 3-year-old girl.
The sheriff’s office released the girl’s name and picture to try to generate new leads in the case.
The suspect, Chester Stilies, was arrested a short time later in the Las Vegas area. He is serving a 140-years-to-life prison sentence.
DeMeo defended his extremely controversial decision.
“For everybody to say, well how come you didn’t do this, do this and do this … everybody’s critical of the investigation. You know, Monday morning quarterback. I think we did the right thing because of how quickly this was resolved.”
DeMeo retired from his post as Nye County’s top cop in December 2014.
He ran again against current Sheriff Sheron Wehrly last year, but was unsuccessful.
The former sheriff was born in Brooklyn, New York, and served 25 years in the Jersey City, N.J., police department before moving to Pahrump in 1998 with his wife, Linda.
DeMeo was 67 years old.
DeMeo’s wife told The Associated Press a memorial service will be planned in the coming days. She also said the family is not planning on having an autopsy performed.
This was posted on the Nye County Sheriff’s Facebook page: “Our badges have been shrouded in his honor and we offer Mrs. DeMeo and his family the honor, gratitude, respect and assistance during these trying days ahead.”