Roger Hollister, convicted with the 2009 murder of Patricia Kimmi, was pronounced dead at El Dorado Prison in Kansas Wednesday afternoon.
"We were not expecting that," said Jerry Kuckelman, Atchison County prosecutor. "The case had taken some turns in the last week and things were starting to develop and fall into our lap. So it was quite a surprise."
That turn of events led to the sudden arrest of Hollister's wife, Rebecca. She was charged last week with aiding a felon after allegedly helping her husband escape prosecution.
Hollister's wife was informed of his death shortly before a hearing to modify her bond Wednesday afternoon.
Investigators said Hollister's death presented a minor road block as they try to put the case to rest.
"We were hopeful to get some information directly from Mr. Hollister but of course that's not going to happen now," said Kuckelman.
It has been an up-and-down week for Kimmi's family.
In a statement, the family said this of Hollister's death.
"In light of the news of Roger Hollister's death, our family's hope is that he made peace with his creator before he left this earth."
It's a new development investigators are hoping will not deter from finding the third suspect they say might be associated with the case.
"Of course, all of this is tough for the victim's family," said Kuckelman. "They've been on a roller coaster for three years. They really need closure. And hopefully someday that happens."