A 22-year-old Guatemalan woman in Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) custody died at a Texas hospital over the weekend about a month after undergoing gallbladder surgery, the federal agency announced Monday.
She was the eighth migrant to die in ICE custody since the start of the 2020 fiscal year in October, BuzzFeed News first reported. The same number of migrants died in ICE custody in the entire 2019 fiscal year.
Maria Celeste Ochoa Yoc de Ramirez had been hospitalized in Fort Worth, Texas, for abdominal pain since Feb. 28. She died Sunday morning at the same hospital. Her cause of death was ruled due to “autoimmune hepatitis, complicated by septic shock and acute liver failure,” ICE said in a news release.
The woman was arrested by Border Patrol agents in September for illegally entering the United States, crossing the Mexican border near Hidalgo, Texas. She was transferred into ICE custody and detained at the El Valle Detention Facility in Raymondville, Texas, the press release said.
Ochoa passed initial asylum screenings. She remained in ICE custody where removal proceedings were initiated with the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR).
Months later, Ochoa was transported to a hospital in Oklahoma on February 7 before undergoing surgery to remove her gallbladder two days later. Ochoa was then transferred to an Oklahoma detention facility on February 10 before returning to the Texas Feb. 13.
She was held at the Prairieland Detention Center in Alvarado, Texas, until she began experiencing abdominal pain. On February 28, she was brought to Texas Health Downtown Fort Worth, where she remained hospitalized until her death.
ICE has notified the Guatemalan consulate and Ochoa’s next of kin, the press release said.