A Honduran man, who was separated from his wife and child was gripped by a mental breakdown and ended up taking his own life in the padded cell in Texas where he was detained Border Patrol.
Although the death of 39-year-old Marco Antonio Muñoz has not been publicly disclosed by the Department of Homeland Security, a copy of the sheriff’s department report revealed that Muñoz was found in a pool of blood with a strip of clothing twisted around his neck.
Starr County authorities have refused requests to share his autopsy reports or the whereabouts of his family.
Muñoz, his wife, and their three-year-old son entered the U.S. on May 12 near the town of Granjeno, Texas. The area is popular with immigrants from Central America who often turn themselves in for asylum in the United States.
After Muñoz’s family was taken into custody, they reached a processing station in McAllen and said they wanted to apply for asylum. It was then that they were informed that Muñoz will be separated from his family.
According to the immigration agent with direct knowledge of the matter, Muñoz was upset after he was told about the separation and immigration agents had to use physical force to pry his child out of his hands.
Muñoz was kept in a chain-link cell but he continued to be furious about having his child taken away. Although he did not attack anyone, he was considered to be “pre-assault” because he was so agitated.
He was then moved to a more secure padded cell 40 miles away in Rio Grande City. In the police van, he kicked the walls and tried to escape. Muñoz was put in jail at 9:40 pm, and officers continued to check on him every 30 minutes. The next morning, they found his praying in a corner of his cell. At 9:50 am, a guard found him to be unresponsive and without a pulse.
Muñoz was one of the many victims of Trump’s infamous “no-tolerance policy” which stipulated that anyone entering the US illegally will be detained.
In such circumstances, children are often wrenched away from their parents since they cannot be put in jails (yet). In the past few weeks, many in the U.S. have contemplated the physical and emotional toll it takes on vulnerable children who are often pushed into an indifferent system of foster care.
However, Muñoz’s death offers a glimpse of the horrifying consequences this solitary confinement has on parents who find themselves in the unforgiving, isolating jail system of an unwelcoming new country
Thumbnail, Banner: Reuters, Loren Elliott