Ted Kaczynski, Imprisoned Unabomber, Dies by Suicide at 81

Unabomber Ted Kaczynski dies by suicide in prison at 81, raising questions about suicide prevention in the federal prison system.

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Ted Kaczynski, Imprisoned Unabomber, Dies by Suicide at 81

Ted Kaczynski, Imprisoned Unabomber, Dies by Suicide at 81

Ted Kaczynski, the imprisoned domestic terrorist known as the "Unabomber," died by suicide in his prison cell on June 10, 2023, at the age of 81. According to an autopsy report obtained by NBC News, Kaczynski used a shoelace as a ligature tied to a handicap railing in his room at the Federal Medical Center in Butner, North Carolina.

The report revealed that Kaczynski had been diagnosed with stage 4 rectal cancer in March 2021, which had spread to his liver and lungs. About a month before his death, he "was noted to be depressed and sent for psychiatric evaluation." The official cause of death was determined to be hanging.

Kaczynski, a Harvard-educated mathematician, carried out a 17-year bombing campaign from 1978 to 1995 that killed three people and injured 23 others. He was captured in 1996 in the Montana wilderness and sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole. Kaczynski spent about 20 years at a supermax prison in Colorado before being transferred to the medical facility in North Carolina in December 2021.

Why this matters: Kaczynski's suicide raises questions about the prevention of inmate suicides within the federal prison system. The Bureau of Prisons has faced criticism in the past for failing to address operational and managerial deficiencies that contributed to the deaths of 187 inmates by suicide over an eight-year period, as reported by the Justice Department.

The Bureau of Prisons declined to comment specifically on Kaczynski's case but stated that they are committed to the safety and security of all inmates in their care. It remains unclear if Kaczynski had ever been placed on suicide watch during his time at the Butner facility. The autopsy report noted that he was not on any prescription medications and had no prior suicidal ideations or attempts, and federal law enforcement had no concern for foul play.

Key Takeaways

  • Ted Kaczynski, the Unabomber, died by suicide in prison at age 81.
  • Kaczynski had stage 4 rectal cancer and was depressed before his death.
  • Kaczynski carried out a 17-year bombing campaign, killing 3 and injuring 23.
  • Kaczynski's suicide raises questions about suicide prevention in federal prisons.
  • The Bureau of Prisons declined to comment on Kaczynski's case specifically.