Third Stewart detention facility detainee passes away

Elfrain De La Rosa was the third detainee to pass away while being held at the Stewart Detention Center. (Staff Photo: Tessa Green)

LUMPKIN — According to a news release from U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement, Efrain De La Rosa, a Mexican national being held in the Stewart Detention Facility in Lumpkin, passed away this week. De la Rosa’s death marked the third death of a detainee at the Stewart detention facility and the second death this year.

Authorities said De La Rosa was found unresponsive in his cell at 10:38 p.m. Tuesday, and medical personnel immediately began to perform CPR and contacted Stewart County Emergency Medical Services. He arrived at the facility at 10:48 p.m. and was pronounced dead at Southwest Georgia Regional Medical Center in Cuthbert at 11:29 p.m.

Authorities said De La Rosa entered ICE custody on March 11 in Wake County, N.C., after a felony conviction for larceny on March 9. Officials have notified the Department of Homeland Security’s Office of the Inspector General and the ICE Office of Professional Responsibility. They have also advised Mexican consular representatives to notify his next of kin.

De La Rosa was 40 years old at the time of his death, and the preliminary cause of death appears to be self-inflicted strangulation. In May of 2017, Jean Jimenez-Joseph, a Panamanian national, passed away while being held in the Stewart Detention Facility. ICE reported the preliminary cause of Joseph’s death to be self-inflicted strangulation and, according to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, he had been in solitary confinement for 19 days before his death.

In January of 2018 Yulio Castro-Garrido passed away while being held in the Stewart Detention Facility after being diagnosed with pneumonia.

In its release, ICE stated that fatalities in ICE custody are statistically rare. De La Rosa is the eighth individual to pass away in ICE custody during Fiscal Year 2018. His case is currently under investigation by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation.

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