WILMINGTON — Former New Hanover County School district Nicholas Lavon Oates has died, apparently from liver failure. Oates was in jail awaiting trial on charges of sexual assault on a minor after he allegedly had a sexual relationship with a 13-year-old student.
According to the New Hanover County Sheriff’s Office (NHCSO), Oates had been sick since his arrest in 2018, and was dealing with a “pre-existing condition.” On Saturday, November 2, Oates was taken from the NHCSO detention center to New Hanover County Regional Medical Center. He died from liver failure the next day, around 9:45 a.m. on Sunday, November 3.
It is not yet known if there will be an autopsy.
Many questions remain about the case against Oates, including why and how an earlier investigation into his sexual misconduct while an employee at Myrtle Grove Middle School did not result in an arrest.
District Attorney Ben David’s office was not able to comment directly on the case.
“Despite the fact that our office cannot proceed with the trial of Oates, the case remains in pending status at this time: there are some evidentiary matters that need to be addressed by the court and Oates’ attorney so we cannot comment on it until that issue is resolved,” according to spokesperson Samantha Dooies.
This is a developing story. More information will be added as it becomes available.