Michael Martinez

A Waco man in custody was found dead Sunday morning at the Jack Harwell Detention Center, officials announced Tuesday.

Michael Angelo Martinez, 25, was found unresponsive in his cell about 5:35 a.m., McLennan County Sheriff Parnell McNamara said.

Martinez was pronounced dead at the scene by Justice of the Peace W.H. “Pete” Peterson. Peterson ordered Martinez’s body sent for autopsy at American Forensics in Dallas.

Peterson initially told the Tribune-Herald he ordered the body sent to the Southwestern Institute of Forensic Sciences in Dallas.

Officials are investigating the death as a suicide, as the cause of death appeared to be asphyxia, McNamara said. No other inmates were reportedly housed in the cell.

Martinez had been in jail since Aug. 18, jail records show. He was being held on unlawful possession of a firearm and possession of cocaine charges and also a federal detainer, according to county records.

Peterson said it appeared Martinez hanged himself in his cell with a piece of cloth. Peterson said jail officials told him they found Martinez hanging by the cloth and took his body down before the judge arrived.

Staff writer Tommy Witherspoon contributed to this report.

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