Joshua Fury was found dead in his cell during a wellness check Saturday night

By Harriet Sokmensuer
July 27, 2020 12:14 PM
Advertisement
Credit: Hennepin County Jail; Maple Grove Police Department

A Minnesota man who admitted to murdering his wife and hiding her body in a crawl space under their home has died by suicide  in jail.

On Saturday night, during a wellness check, Joshua Fury, 29, was found unresponsive in his jail cell by deputies, according to WCCO.  Despite deputies performing CPR and attempting life-saving procedures, Fury died. His manner of death was ruled suicide by ligature hanging, the Medical Examiner's Office confirmed in a press release obtained by PEOPLE.

Fury was awaiting sentencing after pleading guilty to second-degree murder for the April 30 murder of his wife, Maria Pew Weimelt, earlier this month.

Court documents filed Tuesday confirm that Fury admitted to strangling Pew Weimelt following an argument at their Maple Grove home before hiding her body under the house  and then faking her disappearance, KARE11WCCO and KSTP report.

Fury initially told police his wife went missing after going for a walk. Police then searched the couple's home but found nothing out of the ordinary.

Family members told investigators that Pew Weimelt had planned to leave her husband and that Fury was “controlling and possessive," according to a criminal complaint obtained the Star Tribune.

During a second search of the home, investigators located Pew Weimelt's body buried in a crawlspace on the lower level. She had a plastic bag duct-taped around her mouth and nose.

Fury was expected to be sentenced to 38 years in prison on July 31.

Want to keep up with the latest crime coverage? Sign up for PEOPLE's free True Crime newsletter for breaking crime news, ongoing trial coverage and details of intriguing unsolved cases.

Since Pew Weimelt's death, her family has used social media to raise awareness about domestic violence.

“Maria is one of 15 intimate partner murders in MN already this year. 15. That just has to end. Those murders left thousands of families, parents, cousins, aunts, uncles, friends, neighbors, first responders and caring communities of people violated and traumatized. This needs to stop," the family wrote on a Facebook page called Maria's Voice, which is dedicated to their loved one.

The post continues: "Let’s use our Voice with Maria’s to make sure a home is a place of safety and love, not secreted in violence. We need your help to end this national pandemic. Please follow and like us on Facebook— Maria’s Voice — Our actions must change this acceptability of violence toward intimate partners."

If you are experiencing domestic violence, call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233, or go to thehotline.org. All calls are toll-free and confidential. The hotline is available 24/7 in more than 170 languages.