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John Couey Dies

A convicted sex offender awaiting execution for kidnapping, raping and burying 9-year-old Jessica Lunsford alive in 2005, died of natural causes on September 30.

Jessica Lunsford

An undated photo of Jessica Marie Lunsford. 

Jessica disappeared in 2005, a case that received widespread media attention.  Her family cried as they described a girl who they say would never run away. 

Jessica's body was later found wrapped in two garbage bags under a foot of dirt in convicted sex offender John Couey's backyard.

Couey was arrested for kidnapping, raping and burying her.  On August 24, 2007 a judge sentenced him to death.  Couey instead died of natural causes after being taken from prison to a Florida hospital on September 30, 2009.

Source: AP Photo/Lunsford Family

Lunsford Crime Scene

March 19, 2005: A Citrus County crime investigator, left, dons protective clothing near the area where the body of missing Jessica Lunsford , 9, was found.

AP

Mark Lunsford

March 19, 2005: Mark Lunsford, the father of Jessica Lunsford, tells a gathering to hold your child this close as Jessica's cousin Kristy Kirkland stands by his side near their home in Homosassa, Fla.

AP

Lunsford Memorial

March 19, 2005:  Candles, cards and other items are left on the corner of the street leading to the home where Jessica Lunsford lived in Homosassa, Fla.

AP

John Couey

July 11, 2006: John Evander Couey watches as potential jurors are seated in the courtroom near him during the second day of jury selection in his trial at the Lake County Courthouse in Tavares, Fla. 

Couey was on trial for the 2005 kidnapping and slaying of 9-year-old Jessica Lunsford in Citrus County, is charged with first-degree murder, sexual battery on a child, kidnapping and burglary. He pleaded not guilty. 

AP/POOL THE MIAMI HERALD

John Couey

July 11, 2006: John Evander Couey watches as potential jurors are seated in the courtroom near him during the second day of jury selection in his trial at the Lake County Courthouse in Tavares, Fla. 

Couey was on trial for the 2005 kidnapping and slaying of 9-year-old Jessica Lunsford in Citrus County, is charged with first-degree murder, sexual battery on a child, kidnapping and burglary. He pleaded not guilty. 

AP/POOL ST. PETERSBURG TIMES

Lunsford

Feb. 14, 2007:  John Evander Couey, 47, works on a children's coloring book as jury selection continues in his trial at the Richard E. Gerstein Justice building. 

John Couey

July 11, 2006: John Evander Couey watches as potential jurors are seated in the courtroom near him during the second day of jury selection in his trial at the Lake County Courthouse in Tavares, Fla. 

Couey was on trial for the 2005 kidnapping and slaying of 9-year-old Jessica Lunsford in Citrus County, is charged with first-degree murder, sexual battery on a child, kidnapping and burglary. He pleaded not guilty. 

AP/POOL THE STAR-BANNER

John Couey

March 20, 2005: John Couey makes his first appearance at the Citrus County Detention Facility in Lecanto, Fla.

AP/POOL CITRUS COUNTY CHRONICLE

Mark Lunsford

Mark Lunsford is shown after Gov. Rick Perry's ceremonial signing of Jessica's Law in Austin, Texas. 

The law relates to the prosecution and punishment and supervision of sex offenders. Lunsford is the father of Jessica Lunsford, a Florida girl who was abducted and killed, for whom the bill is named. 

AP

Angela Bryant

March 7, 2007: Angela Bryant, the mother of Jessica Lunsford, talks to the media after learning the verdict of the man who killed her daughter outside the Richard E. Gerstein Justice Building in Miami. 

Convicted sex offender John Evander Couey was found guilty of kidnapping, raping and murdering 9-year-old Jessica Lunsford by burying her alive inside trash bags, a case that drew national attention to the problem of tracking sexual criminals. 

AP

John Couey Dies

A convicted sex offender awaiting execution for kidnapping, raping and burying 9-year-old Jessica Lunsford alive in 2005, died of natural causes on September 30.

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