A murderer found guilty of an infamous child kidnapping and killing has been strangled to death in his cell, officials say.
Anthony Palma, 59, was allegedly murdered by his cellmate, Raymond Pillado, at the Oklahoma State Penitentiary in McAlester.
Medical reports described the cause of death as ‘ligature strangulation and blunt force trauma to the head’.
The announcement of Palma’s death came as a blow to the family of Kirsten Hatfield, the eight-year-old he was convicted of kidnapping and killing in 1997.
DNA tests linked Palma to the crime, but the girl’s body was never found.
Cops said that Pillado, also a convicted murderer, took justice into his own hands on January 11 at the state prison and silenced his cellmate by strangling him to death.
Palma’s death was reported last month but the cause was unclear at first.
Correctional officials said that the conviction of being a child killer probably led to his demise.
‘Those who are serving time for victimizing children, they are definitely more vulnerable,’ DOC spokesman Matt Elliott told KFOR.
Palma was found guilty and sentenced for Ms Hatfield’s murder in 2017.
He was living just two doors down from the girl at the time of her disappearance and presumed death, according to reports.
Forensic tests suggest that Palma kidnapped the eight-year-old, before sexually assaulting and killing her.
Authorities told KFOR that they had plans to interviewing him later this year to extract information that could help lead to the location of her body.
‘We’ve not had closure on this case and we may never have closure because we wanted to find her body and bring her home,’ said Midwest City Police Chief Brandon Clabes.
‘Our hopes are, with any case like this… that hopefully he would have some inkling of a conscience, maybe intervention by a higher power, maybe God, and come out and tell us exactly what he did with her.’
Shabnon Hazen, Kirsten Hatfield’s mother said she doesn’t plan to ‘give up hope’ just yet.
‘I’m not going to… I’m just not. I don’t have to at this point,’ she said last month.