Prison officials in Maryland say an inmate hanged himself in his cell hours after he was publicly linked to a decades-old disappearance.

Fifty-one-year-old Fernando Asturizaga was declared a "person of interest" last week in the 2000 disappearance of Alison Thresher. She was a copy editor at The Washington Post, and Asturizaga babysat her daughter. The Post says her disappearance has been treated as a homicide case despite the lack of a body.

Asturizaga was serving time for sexually abusing Thresher's daughter, who appeared with Montgomery County Police in calling for justice.

State prisons spokesman Gerry Shields says Asturizaga was found hours after their news conference on April 12.

The state medical examiner's office ruled Thursday that it was a "suicide by hanging."


Information from: The Washington Post, http://www.washingtonpost.com