Crime and Courts

NJ Man Accused of Cutting Gas Line Into Family's Home Found Dead in Jail Cell

A sheriff’s spokeswoman said in an email that a guard had checked on the man, but 16 minutes later discovered him hanging from a bed sheet inside his cell

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A New Jersey man accused of cutting the gas line to a home in Pennsylvania where five family members were sleeping was found dead in his jail cell.

Ryan Elliott, 30, of Middletown, died early Tuesday, the Monmouth County Sheriff’s Office said. A sheriff’s spokeswoman told the Asbury Park Press in an email a guard had checked Elliott and 16 minutes later discovered him hanging from a bed sheet.

Medical personnel were unable to revive him. Jail staff followed all “proper protocol and procedures,” Cynthia Scott said.

Elliott was awaiting extradition to Chester County, Pennsylvania, where he faced five counts of criminal attempt to commit criminal homicide. According to the district attorney’s office, a West Whiteland Township, Pennsylvania, homeowner told police he awoke to a strong natural gas smell on Nov. 12.

“The homeowner checked the basement and found the gas line had been cut,” the district attorney’s office said. Police said an incendiary device was nearby.

The sheriff’s office is investigating the incident as a matter of procedure even though his death was not considered suspicious.

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