A former Nevada sheriff died in Las Vegas following what his wife said Wednesday was a head injury probably received days earlier at his home in the Nye County community of Pahrump.
Anthony "Tony" DeMeo, 67, died late Tuesday at Centennial Hills Hospital, Linda DeMeo said, after she drove him Sunday to Las Vegas for medical treatment. Las Vegas is 60 miles east of Pahrump.
"I noticed something was wrong. Based on tests, doctors maintained that he hit his head within the last week," Linda DeMeo told The Associated Press. "When did he fall? He didn't tell me anything."
Nye County Sheriff Sharon Wehrly called her predecessor's death unexpected, and the department said in a Facebook post that deputies in the vast rural county west and north of Las Vegas had shrouded their badges in "honor, gratitude (and) respect."
"His service to Nye County and its citizens will always be remembered," the statement said.
Anthony DeMeo was elected in 2002 and served 12 years as sheriff before retiring in 2014. During that period, Pahrump saw a building boom that added nearly 10,000 residents and drove the countywide population to about 45,000.
Anthony DeMeo made another bid for sheriff in 2018, but lost the election to Wehrly.
In 2007, his department and the FBI led a nationwide search for a man who videotaped himself sexually assaulting a 3-year-old girl in 2003. The man, Chester Arthur Stiles, now 48, was arrested in a Las Vegas suburb and is serving 140 years to life in Nevada state prison.
In 2010, Anthony DeMeo led memorials for Ian Michael Deutch a Nye County sheriff's deputy and decorated Nevada Army National Guard serviceman shot and killed by a gunman firing an assault-style rifle in Pahrump. Deutch had returned less than a month earlier from a deployment to Afghanistan.
Linda DeMeo said plans for a memorial for her husband will be made in coming days. She said no autopsy was planned.
"He always did the right thing," she said of her husband, "even when it was the hardest thing for him to do."
Anthony DeMeo was a police officer and sergeant in Jersey City, New Jersey, for 25 years before the DeMeos moved to Pahrump in 1998. The couple is originally from New York. Linda DeMeo said her husband also served in the U.S. Navy during the Vietnam War.