News Releases

North Kern State Prison Officials Investigating the Death of an Incarcerated Person as a Homicide

DELANO – California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) officials are investigating the death of incarcerated person Ricardo Saldivar at North Kern State Prison (NKSP) as a homicide.

On Monday, July 3, at 2:08 p.m., an officer conducting a security/welfare check of the Reception Center (RC) approached a cell occupied by Saldivar and incarcerated person Peter Valencia. The officer observed Saldivar unresponsive in the cell and immediately summoned for medical response. Responding staff initiated lifesaving measures, summoned an ambulance and transported Saldivar to the prison’s triage and treatment area. He was pronounced deceased at 2:19 p.m.

Officials have limited movement on the RC to facilitate the investigation being conducted by NKSP’s Investigative Services Unit, the Kern County District Attorney’s Office and the Kern County Coroner. The Office of the Inspector General was notified and the Kern County Coroner will determine Saldivar’s official cause of death.

Saldivar, 25, was received from Los Angeles County on June 22, 2023. He was sentenced to serve life with the possibility of parole for first-degree murder, and life with the possibility of parole for attempted first-degree murder to be served consecutively.

Valencia, 47, was received from Los Angeles County on May 3, 2023 to serve 18 years for attempted murder as a second striker.

NKSP opened in April 1993, and is a medium security prison as well as an RC housing approximately 3,500 inmates. The general population portion of the institution focuses on providing educational/vocational opportunities to the population. The RC currently processes incoming persons throughout counties in California within a 90-day period compiling criminal records and sentence histories to determine classification score and institutional placement.

BV3754 Ricardo Saldivar

BV3754 Ricardo Saldivar

BT9696 Peter Valencia

BT9696 Peter Valencia


Contact: OPEC Press Office