'This was highly unusual': Maryland inmate dies in a steam-filled prison cell
Hands cling to jail bars (Shutterstock)

Three Maryland correctional officers have been placed on administrative leave as officials investigate the death of an inmate in a steam-filled cell, a prison spokesman said on Tuesday.

Authorities are investigating what killed inmate Louis Leysath, 35, who was serving a life sentence in Jessup Correctional Institution for murder.

He was discovered on Friday in his cell, which was filled with steam, said prison spokesman Mark Vernarelli.

“This was a highly unusual and tragic occurrence,” Secretary of Public Safety and Correctional Services Stephen Moyer said in a statement.

There was no fire in the cell and no foul play is suspected. It is unclear whether the death was accidental or a suicide, Vernarelli said.

Correctional staff tried to resuscitate Leysath but he was pronounced dead a short time later.

Leysath was housed alone. The investigation is continuing.

(Reporting by John Clarke in Washington; Editing by Ian Simpson and Bill Trott)