The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

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December 7, 2012

Man charged in Altoona child’s arson death found dead in jail

ALTOONA — A man who allegedly set a fire that killed a central Pennsylvania toddler last month has been found hanged in his county jail cell.

Blair County Prison Warden Michael Johnston says 62-year-old Aaron Dishong was found Friday.

Johnston says he and Hollidaysburg police are conducting separate investigations and will compare findings Monday to determine if proper procedures were followed.

Dishong was being checked frequently because he was on suicide watch, and Johnston says it wasn’t immediately clear why that failed to prevent Dishong’s death.

Dishong was ordered Wednesday to stand trial for the Nov. 15 blaze that killed 3-year-old Darrel Etchison Jr. in Altoona. The boy’s mother and sister escaped.

Investigators say Dishong was irate an ex-girlfriend he believed was in the house was dating a black man. She had left the night before the fire.


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