MIDWEST CITY, Okla. - Convicted child killer Anthony Palma has been killed in his prison cell by his cellmate, according to the Oklahoma Department of Corrections. Charges against the cellmate are pending.
What at first seems like poetic justice is actually hitting the family of his victim very profoundly.
Chief of Police Brandon Clabes was there the night 8-year-old Kirsten Hatfield vanished from her own home over 20 years ago.
"Anthony Palma creeped into Shannon's house, kidnapped Kirsten, murdered her, disposed of her body, then lived two doors down many many years without a conscious," Clabes told KOCO. "From a moral compass, you want to say the politically correct things, but it obviously geared up a bunch of emotions on my part."
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Clabes said it has been a roller coaster of emotions for everyone involved in the case since day one, because of secrets Palma took with him. Palma had been serving a life-without-parole sentence for first-degree murder.
"We were shocked, we were thrilled, and also heartbroken. We're heartbroken by the fact we may never know where Kirsten's been buried or what happened to her body," said Clabes.
Clabes talked with Kirsten's mother, Shannon. He says she's still very shaken up and trying to process everything that's happened.
"I can't imagine losing your child the way that she lost Kirsten and then to find out the murderer --who did receive justice through our court system -- has now been murdered himself, and we still haven't found her body. So, my heart goes out to that family and everybody involved in the case because there is no closure. It's still wide open for us," said Clabes.