Around 15 hours after a riot at a Northern California prison, the body of an inmate was found nearly sawed in two, with his abdominal organs and most chest organs removed, and stuffed into a shower stall garbage can.
The killing of inmate Nicholas Anthony Rodriguez, 24, who was serving an eight-year robbery sentence, took place in May at the medium-security California State Prison, Solano, in Vacaville.
Rodriguez's missing organs are “still part of the investigation,” said Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation spokesperson Terry Thornton. An inmate-made weapon was recovered, reports The Daily Mail, but Thornton declined to describe it.
"It just blows my mind, because officers are looking in on inmates all the time," said Christine Ward, executive director of the Crime Victims Action Alliance. "Unfortunately, we know that there are drugs, there's alcohol, there are weapons. As much as the officers can police that, we know we've got the toughest, the baddest, the most violent criminals in our state prison and unfortunately some of the most cunning prisoners in there as well. They are going to find ways to do that."
There is only one suspect at this time, Rodriguez’s cellmate Jesus A. Perez, 46, who is being held in segregation. Perez is serving a life sentence for a murder in Los Angeles County, reports NBC Bay Area.
Whether the riot was created to conceal the murder of Rodriguez or allow for the movement of his body is being investigated.
Rodriguez was not discovered missing for nearly 15 hours after the riot took place during a head count. Officials initially thought he had escaped, Thornton said.
“It's very difficult to cover every contingency with the limited staff that we have,” said Chuck Alexander, president of the California Correctional Peace Officers Association that represents most prison guards. “This kind of thing at Solano, sad to say I predict it's just a precursor.”
Rodriguez did not die from the sawing of his body in half or removal of his organs. He had alcohol in his system and his death was from multiple blows to the head that left a deep star-shaped wound on his forehead among multiple skull fractures, cuts, and other wounds, the autopsy report revealed.
Rodriguez’s mother, Maria Rodriguez, said she has not been given details about her son’s death, nor has she seen the autopsy report.
“When I saw my son ... at the funeral, he was so bad in the face,” Maria said. “I called them last week, and they say they're going to tell me in two weeks or in three weeks, but right now we don't got nothing.”