A China-based employee of Apple manufacturing partner Foxconn has committed suicide, following his apparent loss of a prototype iPhone. According to Chinese news reports recounted by DigitalBeat, 25-year-old Sun Danyong was a recent engineering graduate, and handled product communications for Foxconn, including shipping iPhone prototypes from Foxconn to Apple. Danyong had 16 prototype fourth-generation iPhone prototypes from the assembly line at a local factory, but over the course of several days, he discovered that one of the phones was missing, and was unable to find it at the factory. After reporting the missing phone to his boss, Danyong’s apartment was reportedly illegally searched by Foxconn employees in an attempt to find the device; some reports indicate that Danyong may have been detained and physically abused during the investigation. He then jumped out of a window of his apartment building last Thursday, committing suicide.
Apple today released the following statement to CNet regarding Danyong’s death. “We are saddened by the tragic loss of this young employee, and we are awaiting results of the investigations into his death. We require our suppliers to treat all workers with dignity and respect.”