LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – A 16-year-old Arkansas boy suspected in the fatal stabbing of another teen died over the weekend after workers at a juvenile detention center found him hanging from a bedsheet, a sheriff said Monday.
The death of the 16-year-old is being investigated as a suicide, said Steve Jeffery, sheriff in Independence County in northeast Arkansas. The teen's name has not been released because he was a minor.
Jeffery said the teen was being held on a murder charge in the death of 18-year-old Nicholas Zurosky. Police said Zurosky was a suspect himself in the shooting death of another 18-year-old, Lisa Steele, before he turned up dead last week in Paragould, about 150 miles northeast of Little Rock.
The relationship between the three teens wasn't clear. Both Zurosky and Steele were found dead within a week at the home where Zurosky lived in Paragould. A police report listed a different address for Steele.
Zurosky was found stabbed to death on Thursday, Paragould police said. Then on Friday, police announced they had four people in custody, including the 16-year-old, in connection with Zurosky's death. That same night, about 90 miles away in Batesville, workers at the juvenile detention center found the 16-year-old hanging in his cell.
The teen was taken to a local hospital and then flown to Little Rock, where he was pronounced dead early Saturday.
Jeffery said he didn't know whether anyone else was in the teen's cell at the detention center.
"These young people in our facility have many varied problems in their lives and it is sad for someone to think this is the only way out of their problems," Peggy Kendrick, the detention center's administrator said in a statement.
The other three suspects in Zurosky's death were expected to go before a judge this week. Police said Friday they were being held on hindering apprehension charges.
Prosecutor Scott Ellington said the 16-year-old who died was slated to be brought to court Monday.
A police spokesman directed questions about the 16-year-old to the sheriff's office. The spokesman did not respond to phone or email messages from The Associated Press on Monday seeking further comment about the other two teens.
No one answered the phone at the home where Steele and Zurosky were found, but a cheery answering machine message still mentioned Zurosky by his first name.
Brett Gibson, a former principal at Paragould High School, said Zurosky had many friends at the school.
"It's a loss for our community," Gibson said. "No one likes to see young people's lives end prematurely."