CNN reported Thursday that an ICE detainee killed himself while being held in a cell at the Stewart Detention Center in Georgia.
The detainee was identified as 40-year-old Mexican citizen Efrain De La Rosa. De La Rosa was discovered unresponsive in his cell Tuesday evening, according to ICE. After being rushed to the hospital, he was pronounced dead.
According to ICE’s online statement, “Stewart facility staff conducting scheduled monitoring discovered Mr. De La Rosa unresponsive in his cell at approximately 10:38 p.m. Facility staff and medical personnel immediately began to perform CPR and contacted Stewart County Emergency Medical Services, which arrived at the facility at 10:48 p.m.”
De La Rosa was reportedly by himself in an isolation cell when ICE agents found him, although it remains unclear why he was placed in an isolation cell in the first place.
While the case is still under investigation by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, it appears that De La Rosa strangled himself to death. The Special Agent in Charge, Danny Jackson, commented that, “There is no indication of foul play.”
Bryan Cox, a spokesperson for ICE, claimed he could comment on the matter “because an agency review of the death is ongoing.”
CoreCivic, the company that owns and operates the detention facility, had their spokesperson, Amanda Gilchrist, release a statement, promising that “the company is fully cooperating with investigators.” Gilchrist, however, refused to say anything further because the investigation is still underway.
Including De La Rosa, a total of eight detainees have died in ICE custody this year. De La Rosa is also the second detainee in six months to die while being held at the Stewart Detention Center in Lumpkin, Georgia.
Back in January, Cuban citizen Yulio Castro Garrido, was being held at the Stewart Detention Center when he was diagnosed with pneumonia. When his condition worsened, Garrido was sent to the hospital, but he eventually passed away at only 33-years-old.
Additionally, a Panamanian national, Jean Jimenez-Joseph, committed suicide in an isolation cell at the very same detention center in Georgia in May 2017. Jimenez-Joseph was 27-years-old when he died.
Azadeh Shahshahani, the legal and advocacy director of the immigrant rights group Project South, responded to the news of De La Rosa’s death, saying, “The deaths and systematic abuse at Stewart are not only tragic, but infuriating.”
Meanwhile, ICE claims that they are “firmly committed to the health and welfare of all those in its custody,” as the agency’s investigation and review of De La Rosa’s death continues.