A 56-year-old Nigerian identified as Anthony Akinyemi has died in the custody of the United States Immigration and Enforcement (ICE).
ICE said in a statement on its website on Tuesday that the incident occurred at the Worcester County Jail in Snow Hill, Maryland, on Saturday.
It said the preliminary cause of death “appears to be self-inflicted strangulation”, a euphemism for suicide, adding that the case is under investigation.
At the time of his death, Akinyemi was facing deportation to Nigeria for sexual abuse of a minor, according to the agency.
The Nigerian was pronounced dead at 5:23 a.m. local time on Dec. 21, 2019, after he was found unresponsive in his cell.
Efforts by facility staff and emergency personnel to revive him were unsuccessful.
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Akinyemi had been in ICE custody less than 24 hours.
He entered ICE custody Dec. 20, one day after he was convicted in Baltimore City Circuit Court for a sex offence and assault.
ICE had previously lodged an immigration detainer against Akinyemi on July 23, 2019, pursuant to his arrest for sexual abuse of a minor.
The Nigerian, Akinyemi entered the U.S. lawfully on a non-immigrant visa in December 2017, but he failed to comply with the terms of his admission.
“At the time of his death, Akinyemi was in removal proceedings before the federal immigration courts,” ICE said.