Not long after 24-year-old prison inmate Nicholas Rodriguez went missing, guards discovered his body nearly sawed in half, eviscerated and stuffed into a garbage can in a shower stall at the medium security California State Prison, Solano, in Vacaville.
The discovery, which was made May 4, was disclosed Friday by the Associated Press, which obtained the autopsy report of the victim under a public records request. Officials for the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation declined to comment on the details of Rodriguez’s death, which is under investigation.
Rodriguez had been serving an 8-year sentence for second-degree robbery in Oakland using a firearm. He shared a cell with Jesus Perez, 46, who had been serving a 26-year-to-life sentence for first-degree murder in Los Angeles County.
Perez is suspected of killing Rodriguez, according to the prisons department. He is being held in segregation and has not been charged.
Rodriguez’s body was found less than 24 hours after dozens of inmates rioted in the prison yard. The riot lasted half an hour and occurred in the morning. That afternoon, during a head count, Rodriguez was discovered missing and was assumed to have escaped.
Five hours later, his body was found a few doors from his cell. The Associated Press reports that his abdominal organs and most of his chest organs had been removed.
Authorities are looking into the possible role that the riot played in the slaying. During the brawl which was put down with pepper spray, three inmates and one guard were injured.
According to the autopsy which was conducted on May 27 by the Solano County coroner’s office, Rodriguez had alcohol in his system and was dead before his body was mutilated. He had a deep star-shaped wound on his forehead, as well as multiple skull fractures, cuts and wounds.
The Vacaville prison, located 40 miles southwest of Sacramento, houses about 3,850 inmates. The prison was designed to accommodate 2,610 inmates.