SAN DIEGO (AP/CBS) — A former Boston resident who was found on fire in San Diego is an ex-prisoner of North Korea who was freed with the help of former President Jimmy Carter.

Police on Tuesday said the death of Aijalon Gomes appears to be either an accident or suicide. The case remains under investigation.

aijalon gomes with jimmy carter Man Found Burning In San Diego Was Once Prisoner Of North Korea

Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter steps off a plane with Aijalon Mahli Gomes on Aug. 27, 2010 at Logan International Airport in Boston. (Photo by Darren McCollester/Getty Images)

Gomes was found burning in a field late Friday. He died at the scene. The 38-year-old Gomes had recently moved from Boston to San Diego.

Gomes had been teaching English in South Korea when he was imprisoned for illegally crossing into North Korea from China in 2010. He spent months in prison until Carter arranged his release.

gomes Man Found Burning In San Diego Was Once Prisoner Of North Korea

Aijalon Gomes, a former prisoner of North Korea. (GoFundMe photo)

Gomes’ mother, Jacqueline McCarthy, told KNSD-TV that she plans to set up an online fundraising page to help cover funeral costs.

“The world may see Aijalon as the American teacher whose freedom from captivity for crossing the China-North Korea border was negotiated, in part, by President Jimmy Carter, but we knew him as a loving, kind, compassionate, and God-fearing soul,” his family posted on the online fundraising page.

(© Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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