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Man who escaped Iowa’s Fort Madison prison discovered dead in Wisconsin jail cell

DODGE COUNTY, WISCONSIN – A man who completed a daring escape from a major Iowa prison last year was found dead in a Wisconsin jail cell.

On December 21, 2016 Iowa Offender Justin Kestner was found unresponsive in his assigned cell at Wisconsin Department of Corrections Dodge Correctional Institution. Responding staff initiated lifesaving measures but were unsuccessful.

Kestner was transferred to Wisconsin as an interstate compact on November 21, 2016.

Kestner was serving a 35 year sentence for Theft First Degree (two counts) from Woodbury County and Habitual Offender and Operating Motor Vehicle without Owner Consent from Lee County. This sentence began on January 11, 2010.

The Dodge County (Wisconsin) Sheriff’s Office is investigating the death.

back in July of 2015, Kestner was housed in the John Bennett Unit A-Pod in the Fort Madison prison in Iowa. The John Bennett Unit A-Pod is a secured housing unit which houses maximum security inmates for restrictive housing purposes. Kestner was discovered missing by staff conducting the security rounds during an early morning count. Immediately, the Warden and Deputy Warden were notified and the entire institution was placed under restricted movement and an emergency count was conducted.

Kestner had removed the screws from an access cover to a pipe chase in the cell shower and subsequently maneuvered up the chase and through a vent to the roof. Kestner used the rope constructed from torn bed sheets and the drain pipe to make his way to the ground from the roof of the Unit to an unfenced area.

City, County and State Police as well as the Division of Criminal Investigation were notified. Representatives from these agencies reported to the institution where an Incident Command Center was formed to direct the search for Kestner.

Later that same morning, a report of a stolen vehicle was received from the Wever, Iowa area, and minutes later, Kestner was apprehended by an Illinois State Trooper walking along Illinois Route 82 a half a mile south of I-80. Kestner was returned to the Iowa State Penitentiarythat evening and was placed in Administrative Segregation.

Justin Kestner BACK IN PRISON
Justin Kestner
DIED IN PRISON
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