Child abuser killed shortly after fresh evidence emerges
A pedophile has been found dead in his prison cell shortly after being named as a suspect in the murder of the mother of one of his victims.
During a press conference, police named 51-year-old Fernando Asturizaga as a suspect in the death of Alison Thresher – the mother of a child he raped who vanished aged 45 from her Maryland apartment in 2000.
Although the body of the journalist’s body was never found, police say Asturizaga murdered her after she caught him raping her daughter.
According to the daughter Hannah, now 31, her mother confronted Asturizaga about the child abuse and hasn’t been seen since.
At the time, Asturizaga was Hannah’s teacher and babysitter.
Hannah came forward about the sexual abuse in 2010 and Asturizaga was jailed for pedophilia, but now police say they now suspect he was also behind the mother’s murder.
Shortly after Maryland Police made the announcement, Asturizaga was found “unresponsive” in his prison cell.
Daily Mail reports: Hannah, now 31, came forward to tell police that Asturizaga had raped her repeatedly years before her mother went missing.
She said the abuse began in 1999 when she was 12, and went on until after her mother vanished but that she did not connect the dots that he may have been involved in her disappearance until recently.
Asturizaga was found unresponsive on Thursday night in his cell at the Western Correctional Institution after it was announced earlier that day that he would be investigated for the murder, police said Friday.
Asturizaga was jailed in 2012 for his sexual offense and could’ve faced another charge for murder had the investigation provided lucrative evidence.
But investigators made clear on Thursday before his death that there was not enough to pin the crime on him currently because Alison’s body has not been recovered.
It is not clear if Montgomery County police, which investigated the woman’s disappearance in 2000, looked into Asturizaga at the time of the disappearance.
Not only had Alison confronted him about his, but she went to the school where he worked and described her concerns in journals.
It is not known if the school ever told police what Alison had warned them of.
At a press conference on Thursday where Hannah Thresher spoke and where police named Asturizaga as a person of interest, they did not indicate if it had ever been explored.
Asturizaga refused to cooperate with their investigation and would not speak about Alison Thresher’s disappearance before he was found dead.
A death investigation is being conducted by the Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services.
It is unclear how investigators will proceed with the murder investigation in light of Asturizaga’s death.
‘We’re hoping through this announcement that anyone with information about the case will come forward,’ Montgomery County Police Chief Tom Manager said at the press conference Thursday before Asturizaga was found dead.
‘We’re seeking information about Asturizaga’s activities at the time of Alison’s murder, any additional instances of inappropriate behavior by Asturizaga, anyone who knew Asturizaga when he taught at the Friends School and any information about places that Asturizaga may have frequented and any information about the case in general.’
In a journal entry before she vanished, Alison expressed her worries about the man.
‘Mad about my thoughts re F. He is a teacher. Many people have concern about male babysitters. Sometimes teenage too stimulating for them,’ she wrote on March 18, 2000, almost two months to the day before she disappeared after dinner with her family in Georgetown.
Alison and her husband James were going through a divorce at the time of her disappearance.
On May 23, she returned to her home after having dinner with her family and wrote a final email at midnight. It is not clear if her children were there at the time or if they were with their father.
A neighbor later reported that they heard screaming coming from her apartment between 4 am and 5 am that morning.
Another call from someone else reported a suspicious man running through the area at around 6 am.
Her Volvo was found later around a mile from the home but there was no sign of her.
For a year, police investigated without great urgency, saying there were no signs of foul play.
In 2001, they began treating it as a homicide but turned up no leads.
The abuse was still going on of her daughter and Asturizaga relished the fact that Alison was no longer around to stop him, Hannah said.
‘Soon after she made her suspicions known, my mother disappeared.
‘A few months later, when I expressed frustration at his lack of empathy towards my grief over the loss of my mother, Mr. Asturizaga said to me: “I thought things would be easier for us now that she’s gone.”
‘At the time I didn’t think anything of it. But after nine or 10 years of reflection I started to question if his words meant something more,’ Hannah, said on Thursday.