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.
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’ 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.
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