A Guatemalan woman in the custody of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) passed away Sunday at the Eloy Detention Center, of an apparent suicide. Twenty four year-old Elsa Guadalupe-Gonzales was found unresponsive in her cell Sunday evening by another detainee, who discovered her hanging. Detention facility staff immediately called 911. Emergency medical technicians responded to the scene, but were unable to revive Guadalupe-Gonzales. She was pronounced dead at 6:06 p.m.
Guadalupe-Gonzales had recently crossed the border unlawfully after having originally come into ICE’s Enforcement and Removal Operations custody following her March encounter with U.S. Border Patrol near Nogales, Arizona. She had been detained at the Eloy Detention Center since March 20th, awaiting immigration hearings related to her removal case. While at Eloy, Guadalupe-Gonzales received two routine medical screenings, but did not seek any medical or mental health treatment.
ICE has notified the Guatemalan consulate. Consistent with ICE protocol, the appropriate state health and local law enforcement agencies have also been informed.
According to initial sources, it is being reported that the woman hanged herself with her shoelaces from her bunk bed. She left no note.
Guadalupe-Gonzales, who has family in the United States, was subject to expedited removal, but was awaiting a court hearing. She was not part of Operation Streamline, which charges immigrants criminally in federal court.
It should be noted that the privately-run Eloy Detention center boasts the highest number of immigrant detainee deaths of all facilities that house immigrants. More immigrants have died in custody at this particular detention center than any other facility in all of the United States. Eloy is run by Corrections Corporation of America, and is under close watch by human rights groups due to the high number of fatalities.
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