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Official: Nicaraguan Diplomat Ingested Drain Cleaner

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Cesar Mercado. (Handout released by the Nicaraguan Consulate)

Cesar Mercado. (Handout released by the Nicaraguan Consulate)

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NEW YORK (AP) – A Nicaraguan diplomat found dead in his New York City apartment had ingested drain cleaner, another indication he might have killed himself, a law enforcement official said Thursday.

Cesar Mercado, 34, was found in his Bronx apartment last Thursday by a driver after he did not show up for work at his job at Nicaragua’s Permanent Mission. He had dozens of stab wounds and his throat had been cut. Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly said some of the wounds appeared to have been self-inflicted.

The medical examiner’s initial autopsy required further study, and a cause of death has not yet been determined.

The caustic cleaner Mercado ingested came from a plastic bottle labeled in Spanish that was found in the apartment, the official said. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because the investigation was ongoing.

There were no signs of forced entry, and Mercado’s apartment door was unlocked. He was found just inside the door. Two knives were found at the scene, a 19-inch and a smaller one found in a sink that was filled with blood.

Mercado’s death coincided with, but was not related to, the United Nations General Assembly’s annual meeting, which brought more than 100 international leaders to New York.

His friends say that Mercado had been looking sick lately, and they thought he had been diagnosed with diabetes. The Permanent Mission said Mercado’s body was being flown back to his home of Masatepe, Nicaragua for burial.

(Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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