OKLAHOMA – A man convicted in the cold case murder of an 8-year-old girl was discovered dead in his Oklahoma prison cell Friday night, according to reports. The remains of the murdered young girl were never recovered.
A correctional officer doing a routine security check, a report said, found the body of Anthony Joseph Palma, 59, around 7:30 p.m. Although emergency medical aid was rendered, staff could not revive him and he was pronounced dead around 8:55 p.m.
Authorities did not disclose the method of death.
However, investigators suspect Palma’s cellmate is responsible for his demise, reported Fox News. The unnamed cellmate is serving time for first-degree murder, like Palma.
Palma’s death comes 13 months after he was sent to prison for the death of Kirsten Renee Hatfield.
In 2017, the girl’s family told the Oklahoman that they had forgiven Palma and that they were praying for him.
“I pray that you someday realize God’s love for you,” Shannon Hazen, the girl’s mother told the paper.
Prosecutors said Palma snatched Hatfield from her Midwest City home after she went to bed on May 13, 1997, and sexually assaulted her. He lived two doors down from her and had not moved at the time of his October 2015 arrest.
New DNA testing linked him to blood found on Hatfield’s bedroom windowsill and her underwear discovered in her backyard.