Miami officer's wife dies after being trapped in back seat of his vehicle for hours
According to CNN, Clara Paulino's son found her in the police SUV unconscious shortly after 5 p.m. last Friday (August 21) after she'd been trapped there without her cell phone.
The SUV has bars on its windows and a cage that separates the back seat from the front as well as doors that lock and can only be opened from the outside.
Matt Reyes, the vice president of the Miami Fraternal Order of Police called Paulino's death, "a tragic accident," saying it "has rocked the Paulino family to its core."
He went on to explain why she wasn't found for hours, saying, "(Aristides) Paulino works midnights. He got home after his shift, went to sleep, woke up around 5 in the afternoon, was looking around the house for his wife, couldn't find her."
Reyes continued, "His son gets home, he helps him look for her ... they subsequently find her in the backseat of his police car unconscious."
Reyes also said Paulino found his wife's phone on the back patio and that was one of the reasons he was wondering where she was. Clara's fingerprints were found all over the inside of the vehicle, he added.
It is unknown why Clara went inside her husband's vehicle, Reyes said. "It is unknown whether it (the vehicle) was locked or she unlocked it to look for something. Nobody really knows why she was back there or how she got back there ... it's not a weird thing (for a spouse to go in car), it's our take-home cars in our driveway, every day," Reyes said.
The Miami Herald is reporting that investigators are treating Paulino's death "as a horrific accident."
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