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SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- A prisoner suspected in the beating death of a woman whose body was found in the Nevada desert was discovered hanging by a bed sheet in his maximum security cell, the Utah Department of Corrections said Thursday.
Juan Tellez still had some slight breath when he was found Wednesday afternoon, and resuscitation efforts began immediately, said corrections spokesman Jack Ford.
Tellez was transported to Alta View Hospital, where he was pronounced dead on arrival, Ford said.
His sister in Salt Lake City was notified of the death that night, he said.
The state medical examiner and the Salt Lake County Sheriff's office will both investigate Tellez's death.
Tellez, 40, was serving a sentence of up to 12 years for aggravated assault and possession of a dangerous weapon by a restricted person. He was arrested after pulling a gun on arresting officers Nov. 19, 2003.
The remains of Bertha Anguiano, 33, were found in the brush about 4 miles from U.S. Highway 50 near Fallon, Nev., in September. She had been missing since Nov. 10, 2003.
An autopsy revealed her skull had multiple fractures. The cause of death was listed as homicide by blunt-force trauma.
In an October interview with investigators, Tellez denied knowing the woman or having anything to do with her murder, but added he "might be better off killing" himself, Carson City Sheriff's Sgt. Bob White said.
Carson City Sheriff Ken Furlong said he had planned to obtain a warrant returning Tellez to Nevada to stand trial for Anguiano's murder.
Tellez, an undocumented immigrant with several aliases, was under suspicion but never charged in Anguiano's disappearance or death.
Anguiano was last seen Nov. 10 after she dropped a son off at a Carson elementary school. Later that day, her 3-year-old son was found bloodied and clutching a $1 bill at a supermarket in Dayton, Nev., 15 miles from the school.
The 3-year-old boy told authorities that a man named Juan hit his mother in the head with a shovel and put her in the back of a truck.
On Nov. 21, 2003, Carson City and Salt Lake County officers were watching Tellez's pickup at a Salt Lake City apartment complex.
When Tellez returned for the truck, Salt Lake County Detective Sgt. Keith Stephens ordered him to surrender. Tellez pulled a gun from his waistband and pointed it at Stephens. Tellez was disarmed by Salt Lake County Detective Brent Adamson, who hit him with his police vehicle.
Tellez was sentenced up to 12 years in prison for aggravated assault and other crimes in a confrontation with Salt Lake County sheriff's officers.
(Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)