South L.A. deputy died from ‘effects of methamphetamine,’ medical examiner finds

A roll of police tape is left on the windshield of Los Angeles County sheriff's vehicle
A roll of police tape is left on the windshield of Los Angeles County sheriff’s vehicle in the parking lot of its training academy in Whittier.
(Jae C. Hong / Associated Press)
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More than a month after the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department announced the “unexpected passing” of a deputy, medical examiner records now show he died from the effects of methamphetamine.

Deputy Jonathan Stewart was found unresponsive at the South L.A. Sheriff’s Station late April 27, according to news reports at the time. Paramedics were called, but the 41-year-old died at the scene. The department offered few details about the circumstances surrounding his death.

Now, the Los Angeles County Department of Medical Examiner’s website attributes the cause of Stewart’s death to “effects of methamphetamine.” The site does not list any secondary or contributing cause, but indicates the death was deemed an accident and the case is still open.


It was unclear whether officials found any drug paraphernalia or illicit substances at the scene of Stewart’s death. On Thursday morning, the medical examiner’s office did not immediately respond to further questions.

A spokesperson for the Sheriff’s Department did not immediately offer comment.

Stewart joined the Sheriff’s Department in 2006 and later worked at the Inmate Reception Center before transferring to the South Los Angeles Station in 2014. The department said previously that he became a field training officer in 2020 and held that position until he died. He is survived by his wife and three children.

“Jonathan dedicated a decade serving the South Los Angeles community,” the department said in a statement in April. “He was respected and highly regarded by his peers and supervisors for his unwavering commitment.”

At the time, the Assn. of Los Angeles Deputy Sheriffs launched an online fundraiser to support Stewart’s widow and children.

His death came days before a sheriff’s deputy in the department’s anti-gang task force was arrested for allegedly smuggling heroin into a county jail, according to booking records and multiple law enforcement sources.