Medical Examiner: Indian National Died by Suicide in Arizona Jail While in ICE Custody

The Indian national who died in an Arizona jail while in the custody of Immigration and Customs Enforcement died by suicide by hanging himself, according to the Maricopa County medical examiner.

Police records also show that Simratpal Singh, 21, had been accused of sexually assaulting a female passenger on a Greyhound bus on April 30, two days before he was found unresponsive and not breathing at the La Paz County Jail in Parker, a rural community in western Arizona near the California border line.

Singh was transferred to ICE custody on May 2 after posting bond on charges of assault and sexual assault. He was being held at the jail while waiting to be transferred to an ICE facility, ICE officials said.

After being found unresponsive, paramedics were called. Singh was taken via ambulance to the La Paz Regional Hospital in Parker and then airlifted to the Abrazo West Campus Hospital, where he was pronounced dead on May 3, according to ICE.

Efforts to revive him were unsuccessful, ICE said.

The Maricopa County Office of the Medical Examiner listed suicide as the manner of death and hanging as the primary cause of death on its website. Autopsy results have not yet been released. 

ICE and the La Paz County Sheriff’s Office did not immediately respond to a request for comment about the medical examiner’s determination that Singh died by suicide.  

Singh was arrested on suspicion of assault and sexual assault on April 30 on the westbound Interstate 10 outside of Ehrenberg in far western Arizona near Blythe, Calif., according to police records provided by the La Paz County Sheriff’s Office in response to a public records request.

A Greyhound bus driver told sheriff’s deputies that a female passenger had accused Singh of sexually assaulting her while she was asleep, the police report said.

The woman said Singh was sitting next to her when she fell asleep. She woke up because Singh was fondling her while she was sleeping, according to the police report. 

After Singh was booked into the La Paz County Jail, he told deputies that the woman had placed a blanket over them and then touched him. He said he told the woman to stop but she then showed him a knife, according to the police report. He said he then left his seat and sat in the back of the bus, the police report states.

No passengers witnessed the incident, according to the police report.

Singh was the second person to die in Arizona while in ICE custody in four weeks.

By Daniel Gonzalez for AZ CENTRAL

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