The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

Local News

December 7, 2012

Suspect in fatal arson found dead

HOLLIDAYSBURG — A man who allegedly set a fire that killed an Altoona toddler last month was found hanged in his county jail cell.

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

Johnston said 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 said 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 angry that 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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