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September 12, 2019Chicago, IL, United StatesDetainee Death Notifications

ICE detainee from Mexico passes away at Illinois hospital

CHICAGO — A Mexican man in the custody of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) housed at the McHenry County Adult Correctional Facility (MCACF) in Woodstock, Illinois, died September 10 at an area hospital.

Roberto Rodriguez-Espinoza, 37, was pronounced dead by medical staff at Northwestern Medicine Central DuPage Hospital in Winfield, Illinois, Sept. 10 at 9:35 p.m. The attending physicians identified Rodriguez-Espinoza’s preliminary cause of death as a subdural hematoma.  

On Sept. 3, 2019, ICE encountered Rodriguez-Espinoza, a documented Latin Kings gang member with a 2016 burglary conviction and 2008 theft conviction, in Chicago and placed him into custody at MCACF.  

On the day of his arrest, during his intake screening, Rodriguez-Espinoza admitted to daily consumption of alcohol. On Sept. 7, facility staff observed Rodriguez-Espinoza acting confused and the facility’s physician ordered Rodriguez-Espinoza transported to the Northwestern Medicine Woodstock Hospital emergency room in Woodstock, Illinois, for further evaluation due to his confusion and history of alcohol consumption.

On Sept. 8, the hospital transferred him via ambulance to Northwestern Medicine Huntley Hospital, in Huntley, Illinois, where he was diagnosed with a brain hemorrhage. He was then transferred to Central DuPage Hospital for a neurosurgery consult. Rodriguez-Espinoza failed to respond during a neurological exam performed upon arrival at Central DuPage and the attending neurosurgeon advised that Rodriguez-Espinoza was unlikely to survive surgery.  

ICE contacted the Mexican Consulate to inform them of Rodriguez-Espinoza’s medical status and to request assistance locating his next of kin. Mexican Consular officials subsequently advised that Rodriguez-Espinoza had no known next of kin.  

ICE is firmly committed to the health and welfare of all those in its custody and is undertaking a comprehensive agency-wide review of this incident, as it does in all such cases. Fatalities in ICE custody, statistically, are exceedingly rare and occur at a small fraction of the rate of the U.S. detained population as a whole.

This agency’s comprehensive review will be conducted by ICE senior leadership to include Enforcement and Removal Operations, the Office of Professional Responsibility and the Office of the Principal Legal Advisor.

Comprehensive medical care is provided to all individuals in ICE custody. Staffing for detainees includes registered nurses and licensed practical nurses, licensed mental health providers, mid-level providers like physician assistants and nurse practitioners, and a physician. Detainees also have access to dental care and 24-hour emergency care. Pursuant to its commitment to the welfare of those in the agency’s custody, ICE spends more than $260 million annually on the spectrum of healthcare services provided to detainees.

Rodriguez-Espinoza is the eighth individual to pass away in ICE custody in fiscal year 2019.