An inmate who managed to escape from Iowa’ maximum security prison for about 10 hours last year was found dead in a Wisconsin prison last week.
Justin Kestner entered Iowa’s prison system about seven years ago after committing an armed robbery at a Sioux City convenience store. In July of 2015, he used 67 feet of bed sheets to escape from the medical unit at the Iowa State Penitentiary in Fort Madison. While briefing reporters at the time, Governor Branstad called the escape “ingenious” but “absolutely stupid.”
Kestner walked from the Fort Madison, IA prison to nearby Wever, stole a car there and dumped the vehicle about 100 miles away in Geneseo, Illinois. He was spotted walking south of Geneseo and captured in a corn field.
The Iowa Department of Corrections says Kestner was found “unresponsive” in a cell at an “intake” prison in Waupun, Wisconsin, on December 21. He could not be revived.
Kestner had been transferred to Wisconsin’s prison system a month before, on November 21.
The Iowa Department of Corrections issued a news release Thursday announcing Kestner’s death, but offeried few other details beyond the list of his convictions.
This fall, Iowa prison officials said Kestner assaulted a guard at the Anamosa State Penitentiary on October 19.
Contributed by Radio Iowa