CORSICANA, Texas — A man accused of sexually assaulting and strangling his 10-year-old stepdaughter was found hanged in his jail cell Wednesday about an hour before his capital murder trial was to begin.
Michael Paul Zoch had not appeared to be suicidal, Navarro County Sheriff Leslie Cotten said. Cotten said he did not suspect foul play. Texas Rangers were investigating and an autopsy had been scheduled.
Zoch, 37, was found about 8 a.m., hanging from strips of bed linen, Cotten said. He said jailers last saw Zoch alive when they retrieved his breakfast tray at 6:45 a.m.
Cotten has said that Zoch signed a confession in August 2001 and led authorities to the body of April Danielle Bryant in a ravine about 10 miles from her home in Mildred, about 65 miles southeast of Dallas. She had been missing two days.
April had been home alone while her mother, Gale Zoch, was at work at a dance club.
If convicted, Zoch could have faced death by injection or life in prison.