About a week after a Cleveland man convicted of kidnapping and rape was found hanged while in the custody of the Ohio prison system, authorities are investigating the suspicious death early Tuesday morning of a Warren man convicted of raping a young boy in 2005.
James Blackburn, 31, was found dead at 2:09 a.m. Tuesday in his cell at the Lebanon Correctional Institution in Lebanon.
According to a spokesman for the Ohio Department of Corrections, the Ohio State Highway Patrol is investigating the circumstances of Blackburn's death.
A coroner is expected to rule on the cause of death in the possible suicide later this week.
Blackburn, formerly of South Federlee Street, was arrested in February 2006 on three counts of rape. He was accused of sexually assaulting the 8-year-old son of his girlfriend.
The assaults came to light after a relative of the boy took him to the hospital and then reported the matter to police, claiming the boy was raped once in the summer of 2005 and then twice Dec. 14.
Blackburn was serving a 21-year sentence for the crimes.
Also Tuesday, Ohio prison officials placed two guards on leave during investigations into the suicide of Cleveland kidnapper and rapist Ariel Castro.
The two guards were on duty in the unit of the prison south of Columbus where Castro hanged himself, said JoEllen Smith, Department of Rehabilitation and Correction spokeswoman.
Castro, 53, hanged himself with a bedsheet earlier last week, a few weeks into a life sentence after pleading guilty and admitting to imprisoning three women in his home for a decade during which he repeatedly beat and raped them. He was on protective custody, a status requiring checks every 30 minutes, but was not on suicide watch.
Castro was at the Correctional Reception Center in Orient awaiting assignment to a permanent prison.
Prisons director Gary Mohr has ordered reviews due by month's end into how the suicide happened, and whether Castro had received proper medical and mental health care.
The guards in Castro's case are on paid administrative leave.
The Associated Press contributed to this report