The 20-year-old maintenance man who killed a 7-year-old Canton girl has apparently killed himself in prison. The victim’s mother said her daughter went through more than he did.
"He did not suffer as my daughter did, but I am satisfied," she told Channel 2’s Amy Napier Viteri.
A Georgia Department of Corrections spokesman said Ryan Brunn was found unresponsive in his cell at 4:15 p.m. Thursday. He was pronounced dead at a local hospital an hour later in an apparent suicide. The Georgia Bureau of Investigation is now investigating the case.
Brunn was charged with the Dec. 2 killing of Jorelys Rivera at the apartment complex where she lived. He pleaded guilty to various charges, including murder and child molestation, and was sentenced to life in prison without parole. Neighbors had harsh words to say after hearing news of his death.
“It's not justice to me. He got off easy. That poor little girl suffered," Devin Loop told Viteri.
Loop’s children played with Rivera at the same playground where she was last seen. He said Brunn should have suffered in prison.
"It was a coward's way out. He said he deserved whatever he got, but he wasn't willing to face it. Face it like a man," Loop said.
On Tuesday, Brunn appeared in a Cherokee County courtroom and made his confession. Brunn said after he molested the child, he slashed the girl's throat with a knife and beat her in the head with her own roller skate. He then wrapped the girl's body and dumped her in a trash compactor.
"I never had an idea of killing a child in my life ... I was just so terrified and scared. I didn't want her to tell her mom and dad on me and I just, I cut her," Brunn said.
He also apologized saying, "I'd like to apologize for everything I've done and I do deserve everything that you are about to give me." Rivera's mother sobbed just a few feet away.
Viteri went to Brunn’s family’s home where relatives were gathered Thursday night, but his father said they had no comment.
Earlier in the day, Canton Police Chief Jeff Lance resigned following the release of an investigative report that said his department violated its own policies while searching for Rivera.
An autopsy is expected to be done on Brunn on Friday to confirm the cause of death.