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Soltys Confirmed Dead by Hanging

March 2, 2002

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) _ An autopsy has confirmed a Ukrainian immigrant accused of killing six family members died by hanging in his jail cell, officials said Friday.

Sacramento County coroner Paul Smith said he expects a formal ruling that Nikolay Soltys committed suicide Feb. 13, but other details are pending the release of toxicology reports in about a week.

The death is being investigated by the sheriff’s department that oversees the Sacramento County Jail and by the district attorney’s office that had been expected to prosecute Soltys.

Soltys’ attorney, Tommy Clinkenbeard, has asked for an outside investigation by the attorney general’s office into whether jailers were negligent by not preventing his client’s death.

Sheriff’s officials have denied any lapse in vigilance.

Nathan Barankin, a spokesman for the attorney general’s office, said no reason has been found to suspect a conflict of interest among investigators that would justify an outside probe.

Soltys, 28, was arrested last August after he allegedly slashed his pregnant wife’s throat, then killed his aunt and uncle and two 9-year-old cousins. A day later, his 3-year-old son was found with his throat slit.

He led police on a nationwide manhunt for 10 days before he was captured in the back yard of his mother’s home, hiding under a table.

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