Guards at the medium-security state prison in Vacaville, California, discovered the body of Nicholas Anthony Rodriguez on May 4 at about 9:30 pm, nearly 15 hours after a riot broke out between 58 inmates in his housing unit. The body had been folded and stuffed into a garbage can in a shower stall a few doors away from his cell.
Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation spokeswoman Terry Thornton said Rodriguez's missing organs were still "part of an investigation."
No one has been charged with Rodriguez's death, and Thornton said the only suspect is his cellmate Jesus A. Perez, who is now being held in segregation. Officials are now investigating whether the riot was initiated to conceal Rodriguez's murder and move his body.
Thornton said an inmate-made weapon was recovered following the riot, which left three other prisoners and one corrections officer wounded. She would not describe the weapon.
Rodriguez was not reported missing until about 4:30 pm after all inmates were ordered locked in their cells and a head count was performed.
According to the May 27 autopsy report conducted by the Solano County Sheriff Coroner's office, Rodriguez had alcohol in his system and he died before he was eviscerated. He was killed by several blows to the head which left a star-shaped scar on his forehead in addition to skull fractures, cuts and other wounds.
"When I saw my son… at the funeral, he was so bad in the face," she said in a telephone interview with NBC.
Rodriguez is from Oakland and he had been serving 8 years for a robbery in Alameda County.
His cellmate Perez is serving a life sentence for a Los Angeles County murder.
California has one of the highest inmate homicide rates in the country with 160 prisoners killed in the last 15 years.
"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, and there are weapons. As much as the officers can police that, we know we've got the toughest, the badest, and 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."Welcome to EditPad.org — your online plain text editor. Enter or paste your text here. To download and save it, click on the button below.