Crime & Investigation

Ugandan Girl, 23, Commits “Suicide” In US

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According to several US media houses, a cop saw a 2006 Ford Focus parked in the west end of the parking lot.


When the officer approached, there were signs in several visible locations on the car that read “Contact 911 Hazmat,” police said.


The officer, reported Detroit Free Press, smelled a strong odor of an unknown substance coming from within the car and saw the unresponsive woman in the driver’s seat.


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Sterling Heights police Lt. Luke Riley said the woman was unresponsive in the driver’s seat, with a bucket of unknown liquid and containers of muriatic acid near her.


Uganda Foreign Affairs Ministry Permanent Secretary, Amb. James Mugume, was not readily available for comment.


Hazmat personnel responded, entered the car and determined the woman was dead. She was identified and her family was contacted.


Information and evidence recovered at her home and from the family indicates she was from Uganda and may have been despondent over a pending deportation case that is under appeal, police said.


The park was closed off at the 18 Mile entrance. Police said there was no danger to residents living near the park. The officer who found the woman did not appear hurt but was being checked because of the toxic nature of the substance in the bucket.


The Sterling Heights Fire Department’s HAZMAT team responded, opened the vehicle and determined the woman was dead. Officials also summoned the Macomb County HAZMAT team to contain the toxic liquids and clean the vehicle before it was hauled away.


“There was no residences in the immediate area that were in any type of danger at all,” Riley said.


The patrolman who spotted the vehicle and the woman’s body inside was taken to a local clinic for examination because of his exposure to the “extremely toxic” fumes, Riley said.


The officer did not complain of any ill effects and appeared to be doing OK.


No suicide note was found in the car but investigators recovered one in her home. Detectives spoke with her family members who reported she may have been despondent over her pending deportation, which was under appeal.


Riley said police have not delved into the deportation case but added that the woman, who was single with no children, resided with her mother and siblings in Sterling Heights.


The family home is not far from Delia Park, located east of Dequindre Road.


Riley said he did not know how long the 23-year-old woman had been in the United States, but that she had earned a college degree in the U.S.


Police did not divulge the woman’s name. An autopsy was expected to be performed by the Macomb County Medical Examiner’s Office.


After the HAZMAT cleanup, the park re-opened around 12:30 p.m.

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