DELANO, Calif. (TCD) — A 53-year-old man serving a life sentence for sexually assaulting a child under 14 years old was found dead in his cell over the weekend at a prison in Central California.
According to the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, on Friday, Feb. 24, at 8:49 a.m., an officer at the North Kern State Prison was conducting a security and welfare check and saw Juan Villanueva unresponsive in his cell. The officer called for immediate assistance, and staff members conducted lifesaving measures on Villanueva. He was taken via ambulance to the prison’s triage area, and was pronounced dead at 9:03 a.m.
The Department of Corrections did not reveal his cause of death, but said the Kern County coroner will conduct an autopsy.
Villanueva shared a cell with convicted serial killer Ramon Escobar, 51. Escobar was sentenced to life in prison without parole in May for two counts of first-degree murder. He also received a life sentence for three counts of first-degree murder and seven counts of attempted murder.
The Los Angeles Times reported in 2018 at the time of Escobar’s arrest that he beat and killed several people in downtown Los Angeles and Santa Monica while he was homeless. Some of the victims were beaten so badly they became comatose. All of his victims were homeless except for one person. Escobar reportedly used bolt cutters and a baseball bat during his attacks.
Escobar reportedly fled Houston and ended up in Los Angeles after he killed his aunt and uncle, Dina and Rogelio Escobar.