SIOUX CITY -- Adam Moss, who killed seven people in 2001 in Sioux City, Iowa, was found dead in his prison cell Wednesday, officials said.
The Iowa Department of Corrections reported Moss committed suicide in the Fort Madison prison. He was found unresponsive in his cell with a bed sheet around his neck, tied to a wall vent. The Lee County medical examiner said the cause of death was asphyxia due to suffocation.
Moss, 35, was serving a life sentence for seven counts of murder. The sentence began Sept. 25, 2001.
Moss used a hammer and knife to kill businessman Ronald Fish, 58, on Aug. 29 or 30, 2001, at Fish's northside house. Moss also slit the throat of his girlfriend, Leticia Aguilar, 32, and beat her five children to death with a hammer at their westside house on Aug. 27 or 28.
The children were Claudia Saldana, 12; Zacarias Saldana, 11; Larry Saldana, 9; Lisa Saldana, 6, and Michael Aguilar, 6.
The bodies were found Aug. 30, and Moss was arrested after an extensive manhunt the next day.
Sarilye Atlas, of Sioux City, is a sister of Ronald Fish.
"It is the end of the chapter for the Fish family," Atlas said Thursday of the death of Moss.
Former Sioux City police Chief Joe Frisbie said the murder was the worst crime in his lifetime, covering a 42-year police career.
"It was the most heinous crime I've ever seen in the history of Sioux City, and probably the state of Iowa," Frisbie said.
"I feel sorry for the family, the whole family has been through a lot, because of Adam," Frisbie said.
He said living out a life sentence would be a bracing reality for Moss.
"I don't wish anybody death .... He made a decision, for whatever reason. I don't know anybody that wants to spend the rest of their life in prison, but the other side is that most people value life enough to where they probably wouldn't take their own. He certainly didn't value the lives of that family," Frisbie said.
Moss shocked a lot of people when he pleaded guilty less than a month after the slayings.
He wrote a letter to a judge, saying, "I am writing this letter to inform you that I am changing all my pleas of not guilty, in criminal No. FECR050442, to guilty... This is what I want to do. So, please set a date for this or for me to be sentenced."
Said Frisbie, "The story is over."