A confessed and convicted killer who struggled with mental health issues has died in prison, according to a release by the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections.
Matthew VanZandt, 33, originally of Allentown, was found unresponsive in his cell in SCI Houtzdale in Clearfield County on May 11, 2022, the release shows.
Prison security and medical staff immediately responded and provided life-saving measures until EMS arrived at the facility. Vanzandt was pronounced dead at 8:11 p.m., acting Superintendent David Close.
VanZandt was serving a 12- to 24-year sentence for First Degree Murder of his boyfriend Ian Shannon, 31, of Lancaster County. Shannon was found naked and stabbed to death in his Dickens Drive home in Lancaster Township on Wednesday, Mar. 7, 2019, authorities say at the time of the killing.
VanZandt confessed to the killing approximately 3 hours after an inconclusive welfare check at Shannon's home, numerous outlets report. He went to Lehigh Valley Hospital coated in blood, he told nurses it was not his, and the knife he killed his boyfriend with was in his backpack, numerous outlets reported at the time citing charging documents. He had gone to the hospital for treatment of his wounds and mental health care, according to the reports at the time.
VanZandt had been at SCI Houtzdale since September 17, 2021.
Pennsylvania State Police at Clearfield was notified and will conduct an investigation. The official cause of death will be determined by the Clearfield County Coroner's Office.
The deceased's next-of-kin has been notified.
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