Cherokee Sheriff's Department / AP
Ryan Brunn, 20, of Canton, is shown in his Dec. 7 booking photo.
JACKSON, Ga. -- An apartment complex maintenance man who molested and killed a 7-year-old girl committed suicide in prison on Thursday, two days after being sentenced to life in a notorious case that led to the resignation of a town police chief.
“I can confirm that Ryan Brunn did commit suicide," Kristen Stancil, a spokeswoman for the state Department of Corrections, told the Atlanta Journal Constitution.
Brunn was fund unresponsive in his cell at the Jackson State Prison on Thursday afternoon and was pronounced dead at a hospital, the newspaper reported.
Corrections officials did not say how Brunn killed himself. A source told 11Alive News than Brunn hanged himself.
On Tuesday, Brunn pleaded guilty to molesting and killing 7-year-old Jorelys Rivera. The girl disappeared Dec. 3 from a playground at her Canton, Ga., apartment complex after going to get sodas from her friends. Her body was found a few days later in a trash bin.
Speaking softly and with little emotion, Brunn told the court he lured Jorelys into a vacant apartment, molested her, then beat and stabbed her.
He said that when she struggled, he hit her about five times with one of her roller skates and then wrapped her body in a blanket, which he then dumped in a trash compactor.
"I didn't want her to go home and tell her mom or dad on me," Brunn said. "So I cut her."
Brunn insisted he never had sex with the girl, and prosecutors agreed to reduce charges against him from aggravated child molestation to child molestation. He also pleaded guilty to a range of other charges, including assault and abandonment of a dead body. He had no history of a criminal past and passed a background check to work at the complex.
Ricardo Arduengo / AP
Joselinne Rivera mourns in front of the coffin containing the body of her daughter, Jorelys Rivera, during her funeral in Penuelas, Puerto Rico, on Dec. 13.
Canton Police Chief Jeff Lance resigned after a review revealed his department violated several of its own policies and made many mistakes in the search for Jorelys.
A 17-page review by LaGrange Police Chief Louis Dekmar said Lance and his department made a host of mistakes, according to The Associated Press.
The inquiry said there was little doubt that Rivera was already dead by the time Canton police received the missing child report. But it said if another such report were handled in the same manner, police "may indeed miss an opportunity to save a victim's life."
The review found that the officer who responded to the initial call treated the case as a routine one that "would be solved in the same manner as dozens of other such cases that the agency had handled in 2011."
The Associated Press contributed to this story.
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