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ICE detainee passes away at Louisiana medical center

NEW ORLEANS - A 54-year-old Jamaican national being held by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) pending removal from the United States died early Saturday morning at the Rapides Regional Medical Center (RRMC), in Alexandria, La., due to organ failure associated with T-cell lymphoma.

John Sterling was being detained by ICE at the Federal Detention Center (FDC), a Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) facility in Oakdale, La. He was admitted to RRMC on Oct. 27, for anorexia with rapid weight loss and a palpable mass in his upper abdomen. After more detailed evaluation and testing, Sterling was diagnosed with T-cell lymphoma.

Sterling was taken into ICE custody on Dec. 3, 2009 and detained at the FDC upon his release from the Federal Correctional Institution in Memphis, Tenn.

ICE has notified Sterling's next of kin about his death.

Jamaican consular officials were advised by ICE that Sterling had been admitted to the hospital and were receiving medical status updates prior to his death. They have also been notified of his death.

Consistent with ICE protocol, the appropriate state health and local law enforcement agencies have also been informed.

Sterling is the second detainee to pass away in ICE custody in fiscal year 2011.