The Portage County Sheriff's Department has released the name of a 33-year-old inmate found hanged in his cell late Sunday night. Jose Luis Flores Aca pleaded guilty to killing and sexually assaulting his neighbor during a plea deal June 27. Flores Aca was in the Portage County Jail awaiting sentencing at the time of his death.
According to a press release, life saving measures were performed to save the Flores Aca, but he was pronounced dead at the jail.
The Sheriff's Department says he was in a cell by himself, in a block with five other inmates, also in individual cells. Corrections officers had conducted a previous in-person check on him less that 30 minutes earlier, and there were no indications of any problems at that point in time.
Chief Deputy Dan Kontos said they look for signs of mental instability and illness and officers have certain protocol in place to make sure all inmates are taken care of.
"He showed none of those signs," he said. Even when you go back with hindsight, we really have a hard time finding anything that would it would of realistically told us that there was a problem with this inmate."
An eight-day trial was scheduled to begin July 9. However due to the plea deal, Flores Aca's next court appearance was scheduled to be a sentencing hearing on September 30. In Wisconsin, 1st degree intentional homicide carries a mandatory life sentence. His parole eligibility was expected to be discussed during the hearing.
NewsChannel 7 spoke with the family of the victim, Jamie Koch. Her brother, Travis Koch, said they are going through a lot of emotions and the announcement was bittersweet, as they will not get to tell Flores Aca the hurt he caused their family, but he said he at least can no longer harm anyone else. Their family was hoping for a life sentence without parole.
The body of Jamie Koch, 36, was discovered in her burned vehicle in the Waupaca County Town of Harrison, near Iola on August 7, 2013.
According to investigators Flores Aca told Plover Police between the late hours August 6 and early morning of August 7 he was in the hallway of his Plover apartment talking loudly when his neighbor, Koch, opened her door and invited him in to talk. Flores Aca said he at first said no, but then did go in.
Flores Aca said Koch grabbed his arm and wanted him to come further into her apartment. He said that happened twice more and he became mad and punched her. According to the criminal complaint, he said he then strangled her until she stopped breathing. Flores Aca said he “freaked out” and dragged her body to her car. Flores Aca then told investigators he drove her body to Waupaca County and parked the car in a field. He then said he stuffed a rag into the gas tank fill area and lit it on fire.
Flores Aca told investigators he spotted a nearby farm where he used to work and decided to walk to it. Once there, he was able to get a ride back to Plover from the son of a former co-worker.
The location of the body is what helped investigators make an arrest in the case.
Police learned that several people lived in the apartment across from Jamie Koch, and some of them worked at farms in Waupaca County.
Investigators made contact with a farmer in Iola and asked if he had information about the case. He said around 5 a.m. On August 7, a former employee, later identified Jose Luis Flores Aca, arrived at the farm on foot needing a ride back to Plover. Flores Aca said he borrowed a car from a friend, but it had broken down. (It should be noted this is not the same farmer that discovered Koch's burned car)
The criminal complaint states Koch, 36, died from ligature strangulation.
Flores Aca also admitted to sexually assaulting the woman.
During the investigation a motive was not identified, but Flores Aca said he was upset that night because his ex-girlfriend would not answer her phone. He also said he was in a traffic accident two to three years prior and hasn't been able to control his temper since.
Stevens Point Police Department will investigate Flores Aca's death.
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