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Man accused of killing his estranged wife found dead in jail cell

Updated: Jun. 13, 2021 at 2:07 PM EDT
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TOLEDO, Ohio (WTVG) - A man accused of killing his estranged wife and burying her body in a Toledo backyard was found dead in his jail cell on Saturday, according to the Ottawa County Sheriff’s Office.

Deputies found John D. Eichner, 43, unresponsive in his jail cell during a security check Saturday night at 11:30 p.m., authorities said in a press release. Eichner was taken to the hospital where he was pronounced dead.

An incident report from the jail said the deputy conducting the security checks saw Eichner on the floor at the end of his jail cell divider. The deputy reported a noose was wrapped around Eichner’s neck and he was slumped over. Authorities removed the noose and called for help. According to the report, the deputy did not see his chest moving.

“After checking for breathing it seemed as though I could hear shallow breaths,” the report read. “I looked into his throat and could not see any obstructions. Briefly I tried to alert him with a few shakes and a chest rub. With no response I checked for a pulse and breathing again. I could not confirm either and started chest compressions.”

The Ottawa County Sheriff, Stephen Levorchick, tells 13abc Eichner took his life by using his own socks. That may now prompt a policy change at the jail and have inmates wear footies instead.

“He tied three socks together,” said Levorchick. “We don’t want everyone walking around barefoot, so now we are looking at footies.”

Eichner was taken to the hospital and staff worked on him until he was pronounced dead at 12:45 a.m. Sunday morning, according to the jail’s incident report.

Levorchick said Eichner met with a mental health professional five times while in jail, including for one-hour on the day before his death.

Eichner was placed on suicide-watch after cutting his wrist and was sent to the Northwest Ohio Psychiatric Hospital on May 18, 2021. He returned back to the jail on June 4, 2021, and put on a 30-minute observation watch, according to Levorchick.

Eichner was arrested in connection to the death of Amber Eichner in April. Amber Eichner had been missing for two weeks when a body believed to be hers was found in a Toledo backyard. Police received a tip that John Eichner had asked to bury a dead dog in a friend’s backyard. The Lucas County Coroner’s Office said the woman’s body had been strangled to death.

Eichner was charged with aggravated murder, murder, abuse of a corpse, 11 counts of tampering with evidence, 10 counts of possession of criminal tools, and 4 counts of money laundering. He pleaded not guilty to the charges by reason of insanity and was held in the Ottawa County Jail on a $1.5 million bond.

Before the body was found, Amber’s family members told 13abc she was looking for a domestic violence shelter to get away from John.

Eichner was also charged with endangering children after he reportedly left their four children in Tennessee, authorities said. He was ordered to have no contact with the victim’s family, including his children.

The Ottawa County Sheriff’s Office and the Ottawa County Coroner’s Office are investigating the incident.

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