A Pima County jail inmate accused of killing his infant daughter was found hanged in his cell early Saturday.
Jonathan Niles Kesterson, 26, was found dead in his cell just after 4 a.m. He had a bedsheet tied around his neck. The death is being investigated, and an autopsy is pending.
Kesterson and Olivia Paige Martinez, 21, were charged with one count each of first-degree murder and two counts each of child abuse in the January death of their 11-week-old daughter, Vanessa Martinez. The baby suffered broken ribs and a subdural hematoma before her death. An indictment brought against the parents in early May did not specify which parent was suspected of inflicting the injuries.
On April 12, Kesterson was arrested in San Diego on a weapons charge. While speaking with police, he said his daughter, Vanessa, had died of sudden infant death syndrome while her mother was watching her on Jan. 8.
However, Martinez said it was Kesterson who was watching the baby while she worked at a Tucson strip club and, when she returned home, the baby was dead.
Fearing state Child Protective Services would take away their older child, Kesterson said he and Martinez buried Vanessa in the desert. Pima County sheriff's detectives found the infant's remains in a shallow grave in a remote area northwest of Toltec Road and Interstate 10, north of Tucson April 24.
Child Protective Services had previously filed a report of neglect involving Martinez, because Vanessa was born with methamphetamine in her system.
Martinez remains in the Pima County jail.