American held after car bombing dies in Egyptian jail

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Story highlights

  • Jail guard says James Lunn was hanging by shoelaces and belt from a bathroom door
  • Prosecutor orders probe to determine if the death was a suicide
  • Lunn was arrested in August after a car bomb exploded near a northern Sinai police station
  • Lunn had "a computer and maps of vital installations" when arrested, official says

An American arrested after a car bombing in northern Sinai in August was found dead in an Egyptian police station Sunday, authorities said.

The man -- identified as James Lunn by a U.S. State Department official -- was discovered hanging by his shoelaces and a belt from a bathroom door in a waiting area of the Awal police station in Ismailia, Egypt, public prosecutor Hisham Barakt said.

An investigation has been ordered to determine if the death was a suicide, Barakt said.

Lunn was taken into custody on August 27 after a car bomb exploded near a police station in northern Sinai, according to a statement from Egypt's Interior Ministry. His death came on the same day that his detention was extended for another 30 days, the ministry said.

Investigators found "a computer and maps of vital installations" in his possession after he was detained, the ministry said

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"The duty officer in the Awal Police Station in Ismailia, while passing by the administrative detention room where the accused was being held alone, found that the accused had committed suicide by hanging himself from the bathroom door," the ministry statement said.

A vice consul from the U.S. government visited the man at the jail "and noted the good treatment of the prisoner," the ministry said.

    "Our thoughts are with his family as they cope with their loss," the State Department official said. "We have contacted his family and are providing appropriate consular assistance."

    Personnel at the U.S. Embassy in Cairo were "in regular touch with Mr. Lunn during his detention," the official said.

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