Officials from the Wise County Sheriff’s Office said David Malone, the man charged with killing 28-year-old girlfriend Samantha McNorton and leading police to her body, hanged himself in his jail cell late Wednesday.

Sheriff David Walker said Malone was found in his cell with a bed sheet wrapped around his neck at 9:45 p.m. Wednesday. He was later pronounced dead in a hospital.

Malone, 29, had a criminal record that reportedly extended over a decade and included misdemeanors and felonies.

At the time of his death he had just been charged with killing McNorton, a mother of three who was last seen on Nov. 2, at the One Stop convenience store in Runaway Bay. Her body was recovered Nov. 18, in north Decatur.

In a recent jailhouse interview, Malone said he acted “in the heat of passion” after suspecting his girlfriend of cheating on him.

He was initially arrested in Callisburg on a sexual assault charge pending in Parker County.

He later led authorities to McNorton’s body.

Malone was formally charged with murder and was moved from the Parker County Jail to Wise County on Sunday.

A missing persons report on McNorton wasn't filed until Nov. 13. Mother Jody McNorton said it was not uncommon for her daughter to be out of sight for a week at a time, which is why the family delayed filing a missing persons report with Richland Hills police.

The search for Samantha McNorton began Nov. 15, with deputies from Wise, Parker, Jack and Montague counties participating. There was also an aerial search.

Cause of McNorton’s death is pending from officials with the Southwestern Institute of Forensic Sciences. and The Bowie News contributed to this report.

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