Police are trying to establish if there is a link between the death of a 30-year-old man and the abduction of a six-year-old from a bath in her home.
Lee Bayley was the victim of football violence 10 years ago
The body of Lee Bayley was found hanging in a flat near the girl's home in Willington Quay, North Tyneside.
The girl was snatched, sexually assaulted and later found naked in an alley close to her home on 27 December.
Lee Stephen Bayley, of Bewicke Road, Willington Quay, was found dead on Thursday afternoon, police said.
A post-mortem examination on Friday confirmed that he died from pressure on the neck caused by hanging.
Officers from the abduction inquiry said it was too early to say if the death was linked to the abduction.
Police sealed off the house
The house where Mr Bayley was found has been sealed off and is under police guard.
Police also said a car had been removed from the scene for forensic examination to be carried out.
Speaking from outside the house where the body was found, the BBC's Danny Savage said it was obvious that police were putting a lot more resources into the inquiry than they would normally for a non-suspicious death.
Lee Bayley was in the news in May 1996 when he was the victim of an attack by football hooligans.