ATLANTA (AP) – A 20-year-old maintenance man who had just begun a life sentence for molesting and killing a 7-year-old north Georgia girl used his sweat shirt to hang himself in his prison cell, according to autopsy results released Friday.
There’s no indication of anything other than suicide in the Thursday death of Ryan Brunn, and a medical examiner found no other significant trauma on his body, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation said.
Brunn arrived at the prison around 8:45 p.m. Tuesday after he pleaded guilty to the Dec. 2 killing of Jorelys Rivera. He was put in a segregation cell alone for his safety, said Department of Corrections spokeswoman Kristen Stancil. Brunn was interviewed by prison mental health staff Wednesday and was not placed on suicide watch based on those findings, she said.
Brunn was found unresponsive in his cell at 4:15 p.m. and was declared dead at a hospital at 5:37 p.m. The GBI is continuing to investigate and corrections officials have no further comments, Stancil said.
Rivera’s body was found in the trash compactor of the Canton apartment complex where she lived and where Brunn had worked for about a month.
The girl was reported missing after she left the complex’s playground to retrieve sodas at her apartment for her friends. Brunn described in detail to the court how he lured the girl into a vacant apartment and sexually assaulted her. He said he was afraid she would tell her parents so he “cut her.” When she didn’t die right away, he beat and stabbed her.
Then he put her body in a garbage bag and dumped it in a trash compactor at the complex where it was found.
After his guilty plea, a judge immediately sentenced Brunn to life in prison without parole. Brunn also apologized to the girl’s family members, who sobbed in the front row of the courtroom when he graphically described how he killed her.
The news of Brunn’s death came the same day that Canton officials announced that the city’s police Chief Jeff Lance had resigned after a scathing report found he took a “laid back” approach to the search for Rivera.
Lance stepped down after the 17-page review revealed his department of about 50 officers violated several of its own policies and made many mistakes in the search for Rivera, said city manager Scott Wood.
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