A 46-year-old inmate died after being found unresponsive in his cell at Mule Creek State Prison in Ione on Wednesday, and officials said they are treating the death as a homicide.
Deandre Austin, 46, was pronounced dead at 6:30 p.m., less than an hour after correctional officers responded to a report of a “man down” in his cell, according to a news release from the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.
Authorities placed Austin’s cellmate, Rodney Jordan, in segregated housing while investigators looked into the death, the release stated. It’s unclear how Austin died.
The Amador County District Attorney’s Office is assisting with the investigation.
Austin was serving a life sentence with the possibility of parole after being convicted on a slew of child sex assault charges, including rape, lewd and lascivious conduct, continuous sex abuse and penetration with a foreign object, according to the CDCR.
He had been in the prison since Oct. 2, 2008, when he was received from Contra Costa County.
Jordan, 29, is serving a 5-year sentence after being convicted in Los Angeles County of second-degree robbery.
He was initially received at the prison on Aug. 14, 2017, to serve a two-year sentence for first-degree burglary. But after being paroled on July 31, 2018, Jordan was returned to the prison weeks later on the new conviction, according to the release.
Mule Creek State Prison houses more than 3,800 minimum-to-maximum security inmates.