Honduran man in US custody kills himself after being separated from wife and child at border: report

Honduran man in US custody kills himself after being separated from wife and child at border: report
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A Honduran immigrant reportedly took his own life while in custody after his wife and child were separated from him at the U.S.-Mexico border.

Marco Antonio Muñoz, 39, killed himself in the cell of a Texas jail last month, according to the Starr County sheriff’s department incident report obtained by The Washington Post.

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) did not publicly disclose the death, according to the Post. The Hill has reached out to DHS for comment. U.S. Customs and Border Protection and Starr County authorities did not respond to The Washington Post’s requests for comment.

Muñoz’s death occurred just weeks after the Trump administration announced it would crack down on illegal border crossings by prosecuting more parents and separating them from their children at the border.

Border Patrol agents familiar with the situation told the Post that Muñoz, his wife and 3-year-old son were taken into custody after crossing the border into the U.S. near Granjeno, Texas. One agent speaking to the paper on the condition of anonymity said that after the family said they wanted to apply for asylum, they were told they would be separated.

“The guy lost his s---,” the agent told the Post. “They had to use physical force to take the child out of his hands.”

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Border Patrol staff labeled Muñoz as “pre-assault” after he became agitated and began violently shaking the chain-link detention cell, prompting agents to relocate him to a padded isolation cell at a local jail.

Agents said that Muñoz attempted to escape twice during the transfer, and had to be restrained.

“We had to get him out,” the agent told the Post. “Those cells are about as secure as a dog kennel. He could have hurt someone.”

Guards checked on Muñoz twice an hour and said they observed him alive and praying the following morning. A guard discovered him unresponsive at 9:50 a.m., according to the sheriff’s report.

Muñoz’s wife and son were released from Border Patrol custody, one agent said.

The Trump administration’s “zero tolerance” policy has sparked significant outcry among the public and lawmakers. The administration has defended the policy as a necessary measure to secure the border.

It was reported Friday that nearly 1,800 families have been separated at the border under the Trump administration.