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'Serial Killer' Autopsy Inconclusive, For Now

An independent coroner is still likely to get an answer, though.

Toxicology reports are necessary for a coroner to determine the exact cause of death of alleged serial killer Itzcoatl Ocampo. Photo/OCSD
Toxicology reports are necessary for a coroner to determine the exact cause of death of alleged serial killer Itzcoatl Ocampo. Photo/OCSD

By City News Service

An autopsy was performed Monday on an alleged serial killer who apparently ate Ajax while held in the Orange County jail, but it was inconclusive until toxicology tests are completed, a sheriff's spokesman said.

Itzcoatl Ocampo, 25, may have committed suicide rather than face trial for allegedly killing six people, but toxicology tests could take a month or more to complete, Lt. Jeff Hallock said.

Because the coroner's office is part of the Orange County Sheriff's Department, the autopsy was done by an independent contractor, he said.

Ocampo was found shaking and vomiting in his single-man cell at the Central Men's Jail on Wednesday evening. Jailers say he head eaten Ajax, a common household chlorine-based bleach cleaning powder.

Ocampo was in custody on suspicion of killing four homeless men in Orange County in December 2011, as well as a woman and her son in October 2011. Earlier, the District Attorney announced plans to seek the death penalty.

His attorneys said they were preparing an insanity defense.

Ocampo was arrested on Jan. 13, 2012, shortly after the death of John Berry, who was allegedly killed in an attack about a quarter-mile behind a Carl's Jr. at 3110 E. La Palma Ave. in Anaheim.

Ocampo, an Iraq War veteran, was taken to Western Medical Center at 6:35 p.m. Wednesday and declared dead at 1:38 p.m. Thursday in the hospital's Intensive Care Unit.

Orange County prosecutor Suzi Aramesh Price sent an email Thursday to victims' family members saying that Ocampo was on life support.

"It seems that Mr. Ocampo tried to kill himself by ingesting Ajax last night," she wrote.

Later in the same day, she sent a second email, saying that Ocampo died.

Hallock said cleaning products are given to county jail inmates in small amounts upon request, but he stopped short of saying that Ocampo died from ingesting Ajax.

One of Ocampo's attorneys, Michael Molfetta, said last week that Ocampo's jailers "failed miserably" in their duty to prevent a detainee from killing himself.   

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