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A Utah man convicted of killing his wife on an Alaskan cruise ship in front of the couple’s horrified daughters was found dead in his prison cell.
Kenneth Manzanares, 43, was pronounced dead at 7:42 a.m. Wednesday at the Lemon Creek Correctional Center, after authorities discovered him unresponsive in his cell just before 7 a.m., according to a statement from the Alaska Department of Corrections.
Authorities have not revealed Kenneth’s cause of death but said no foul play is suspected and the death is not COVID-19 related.
As part of regular policy, the Alaska State Troopers and the Medical Examiner’s Office plan to review the circumstances of how the 43-year-old died.
Kenneth’s death comes just one month after he was sentenced to 30 years in federal prison for beating his wife, Kristy Manzanares, to death in 2017 during an Alaskan cruise aboard the Emerald Princess with her family.
According to a statement from federal prosecutors, the couple had embarked on the Alaskan cruise on July 24, 2017 with their three daughters and Kristy’s family.
The next night, Kenneth and Kristy were inside their cabin with two of their daughters, when a heated argument broke out about Kenneth’s behavior earlier that night.
Kristy told Kenneth she wanted a divorce and asked him to get off the ship at the next stop in Juneau.
Prosecutors said Kenneth told his daughters to leave the room, but the girls tried to re-enter the cabin a few minutes later when they heard their mother scream. Kenneth then told his daughters “don’t come in here,” according to the statement.
The girls went to a balcony connected to an adjoining relatives’ cabin and saw their father straddling Kristy “on the bed striking her in the head with closed fists,” authorities said.
Kristy’s father and two brothers arrived and saw Kenneth trying to drag his wife’s body toward the balcony but one of the brothers was able to grab her ankles and pull her back into the cabin. The ship’s medical personnel attempted to perform life saving measures on the mom of three, but she was pronounced dead. Officials would later determine that she had died from blunt force trauma to the dead and face.
Kenneth was arrested on July 26, 2017 and pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in his wife’s death in February of 2020.
The couple had been on the cruise to celebrate their 18th wedding anniversary, according to a probable cause statement obtained by Oxygen.com.
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