Former Cathedral City Resident Allegedly Killed by Cellmate in State Prison

A former Cathedral City resident serving a prison sentence for child molestation was allegedly killed by his cellmate, according to corrections officials.

Robert Elsworth Hunter, 77, was found “unresponsive in his cell with blunt force injuries to his face,” according to the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation. He was pronounced dead just before 8 a.m. Monday at Mule Creek State Prison in Ione.

Hunter was serving a 15-year-to-life sentence for molesting a boy at various times over the course of three years while living in Cathedral City, according to court documents. He pleaded guilty to a single count of oral copulation on a child in 2009, court records show.

Hunter’s cellmate, Matthew Wanser, has been identified as a suspect in his death, according to CDCR.

Wanser, 46, was convicted of a double murder in San Diego County and is currently serving a life term without the possibility of parole. Wanser has been at the prison since November 1998, according to a CDCR statement.

Prison officials said inmate movement within the prison has been “limited” as a result of the homicide investigation by the prison’s Investigative Services Unit.

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