A detective with the Siskiyou County Sheriff’s Department died while off-duty in the early morning hours of Thursday, April 21.

Described as “dedicated, tenacious, and a hard-working professional of the highest caliber,” Detective Frank Barrett, 45, was found unresponsive by his wife in the early morning Thursday at his home in the Scott Valley area, according to a press release from the Sheriff’s Department.

Barrett was taken to Fairchild Medical Center in Yreka and pronounced dead on arrival at 5:32 a.m., according to the press release.

The cause of death is pending the results of an autopsy. Although it is early in the investigation, the Sheriff’s Department said the death appears to be of natural causes.

Barrett began at the Sheriff’s Department in September 1996 as a resident deputy in the Scott Valley area. In August 1999, he became a K-9 handler, working with his German Shepherd “Buck,” according to the release.

Buck retired in September 2007. He still lives with the Barrett family, Lopey said.

Barrett was also one of the Department’s Explorer Advisors early in his career.

In February 2006, Barrett was assigned to the Siskiyou County Interagency Narcotics Task Force, and in 2007 “ due to his proven leadership and splendid work achievements,” he was assigned to the position of second in command at SCINTF.

In August 2010, Barrett was transferred to the Sheriff’s  Detective Bureau, where he worked on several major case investigations.

At his time of death, Barrett was the lead detective in a cold case homicide and a recent Mount Shasta home invasion  and robbery, Lopey said.

“Detective Barrett was making significant progress on all of the cases he was working on. His work product is an enduring testament to his investigative abilities, diligence, hard work, initiative and his compassion for victims and their families.”

“Frank was one of the best detectives I have worked with and he loved his work,” Lopey continued. “Frank was admired, respected and well-liked by all who knew him.  The Siskiyou County Sheriff’s Office and the citizens we serve have suffered a tragic, irrevocable loss which has devastated the department.  Our heart-felt condolences are extended to Frank’s family, friends, co-workers, and citizens he served.  He will be sorely missed but in the aftermath of his death, we all feel privileged to have known and worked with such a dedicated professional and true friend.”

Barrett is survived by his wife, Norma, two sons – 19 year old Devin and four year-old Teigh, as well as many loving family members and friends.

The Sheriff’s Department and Barrett’s family are planning a memorial service.

A memorial fund has been established at the Siskiyou Central Union to assist the Barrett family. Donations can be made to the Frank Barrett Family Memorial Account.