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Child Rapist Dies in Prison, Officials Have No Leads in Determining Cause of Death

Shayn Turner was only weeks into serving a 40-year prison sentence for raping a 7-year-old girl when a guard discovered him having seizures in his cell around 2:30 a.m.

Early Tuesday morning, Turner, 43, was pronounced dead at the Northwest State Correctional Facility in St. Albans.

Nothing has yet been ruled out as the cause of his death: overdose, medical issue, and allergic reactions are all being considered as the reasons for seizures.

Prison officials have said that just two weeks ago personnel had swept the entire area for contraband such as drugs and weapons. Shakedowns, or cell searches, are conducted on a daily basis in every unit.

"There are so many unknowns at this point," said Greg Hale, superintendent of the Northwest State Correctional Facility.

"Until we have an autopsy result and the state police finish their end, really the door is wide open," Hale continued, noting also that he is not aware of Turner having had a history of seizures.

Hale said that Turner's cellmate was present at the time of Turner's death. It is unclear whether the cellmate saw or heard anything.

Nothing at the scene of Turner's death in his cell currently indicates foul play. Officials are awaiting toxicology reports to see if he had any substances in his system.

The investigation has been turned over to state police.

Last month, Turner was sentenced to 40 years in prison for repeatedly raping a girl when she was 6 and 7 years old. He recorded the attacks and traded the videos online, and admitted to being in possession of thousands of images of child pornography. He was already on probation at the time for being the getaway driver in a 2004 South Burlington bank robbery.


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