Separate inmate deaths lead to homicide investigations

Salinas Valley State Prison says 2 men were found dead in cells Saturday


SOLEDAD — Two inmates were discovered dead Saturday, April 22, in two separate incidents at Salinas Valley State Prison, officials said.

Cedric J. Saunders, 22, was found unresponsive in his assigned cell in Facility C Saturday morning, and pronounced dead at 9:05 a.m. Saunders, an inmate since July 2013 from Riverside County, was serving a five-year sentence for second-degree robbery with a street gang enhancement.

Prison officials have named Saunders’ cellmate, Andy Loni, as a suspect. Loni, 45, an inmate since September 1991 from Los Angeles County, is serving life with the possibility of parole for attempted first-degree murder and assault with a firearm. He has been rehoused in the prison’s Administrative Segregation Unit as the incident is investigated.

In a separate incident, 61-year-old David Bobst was found unresponsive in his assigned cell Saturday morning, and was pronounced dead at 9:53 a.m. He was the sole occupant of the cell.

Bobst, an inmate since November 1987 from Orange County, was serving life with the possibility of parole for lewd and lascivious acts with a child under the age of 14, vehicle theft and first- and second-degree burglary.

Officials said the prison’s Investigative Services Unit is investigating both incidents as unrelated homicides.