News Releases

Inmate Death at California Correctional Institution Being Investigated as a Homicide

TEHACHAPI – Officials at California Correctional Institution (CCI) are investigating the death of an inmate that occurred on Friday as a possible homicide.

Inmate Miguel J. Alejo, 46, was found unresponsive in his cell at approximately 12:30 p.m. on February 12, 2016. CCI staff immediately began lifesaving measures and an ambulance was called. While in the clinic Alejo regained a pulse. He was transported by ambulance to an outside hospital. Alejo was pronounced dead at 1:39 p.m. His next of kin has been notified.

Alejo was received by the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) on April 6, 2011, from Fresno County to serve a six-year sentence for second-degree robbery and second-degree burglary.

Prison officials have named Alejo’s cellmate, Thomas E. Santiago, 35, as a suspect. Santiago was received by CDCR on February 16, 2000, from Ventura County to serve a life sentence for second-degree attempted murder with a gang enhancement and intentional discharge of a firearm causing great bodily injury.

Santiago has been placed in the Administrative Segregation Unit pending the investigation by CCI, the Kern County Coroner and the Kern County District Attorney. The Office of the Inspector General was notified.

CCI opened in 1933 and houses approximately 3,500 minimum-, medium-, maximum- and high-security custody inmates. CCI offers academic classes and vocational programs and employs approximately 1,600 people. For more information, visit

FEBRUARY 16, 2016

LT. JOSHUA TYREE (661) 822-4402 EXT. 3021