The Villanova University professor found dead two days before he was to start serving a federal prison term on child-pornography charges killed himself, the Chester County Coroner's Office said Tuesday.

Christopher Haas, 60, was found in a makeshift camp in a wooded area next to train tracks near the Whitford SEPTA station and declared dead at 5:10 p.m. Saturday, according to the coroner's office and West Whiteland Township police. Police found a knife at the scene. Haas bled to death, said the coroner's office, which ruled the death a suicide.

David Daugherty, chief deputy coroner for Chester County, declined to comment further.

Haas had mailed letters to relatives telling them of his intentions, police said. One relative called the Tredyffrin Township Police Department, which notified police in West Whiteland Township around 3 p.m., police there said. West Whiteland police found Haas where he said he would be, with a backpack, a sleeping bag, and a folding chair among his belongings.

Haas, a father of two who most recently lived in a Paoli apartment, was a history professor who came to Villanova from Kansas. He was accused last spring of using a campus computer to access child pornography for a seven-hour stretch one night last March.

He pleaded guilty in September to one count of accessing the internet with the intent to view child-exploitation images and was sentenced last month to 20 months in prison. He was scheduled to report to the federal prison at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst on Monday.

In October 2012, Haas went missing and left a note suggesting he might harm himself. State police found him unharmed.