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“Abuse” found by independent autopsy of trans woman who died in ICE custody

November 28, 2018 / 07:04 PM GMT By Brooke Sopelsa and Tim Fitzsimon Roxsana Hernandez, a 33-year-old transgender woman from…

By Brooke Sopelsa and Tim Fitzsimon

Roxsana Hernandez, a 33-year-old transgender woman from Honduras, died in US detention in May only a few weeks after requesting asylum at the American border. Now, six months later, an independent autopsy report has found that she suffered “physical abuse” before her death.

The report by Kris Sperry, a forensic pathologist from Georgia, found that Hernandez had “deep bruises” against the chest wall and “deep efforts on the back”. Sperry also found that Hernandez’s wizard showed bruises “typical of cuff injury”.

In a statement on May 25, the day Hernandez died in a New Mexico hospital, ICE gave the preliminary cause of death as a cardiac arrest and added that there was an autopsy in the New Mexico Medical Examination Office. This autopsy report has not been released.

Roxsana Hernandez, right, a transgender woman who was part of the caravan of Central American immigrants died in the ICE custody at a hospital in Albuquerque, New Mexico on May 25, 2018. [19659007] Annie Rose Ramos

Transgender Law Center, an ideal international law group who hired Sperry to conduct autopsy and Andrew Free, a civil lawyer employed by the Hernandez family, said in a statement on Monday that Hernandez died of dehydration and complications related to being HIV positive.

“Her death was completely preventable,” they said.

A spokesman for ICE denied any claim that Hernandez had been beaten under the agency’s custody.

Talesman Danielle Bennett said in an email that while the agency “can not speak with the validity of the private autopsy” confirmed a review of Hernandez’s death conducted by the ICE Health Care Corps that she had a history of untreated HIV.

Bennett said no one at the two hospitals where Hernandez was treated had raised “any problems with suspected physical abuse”.

Free said he had left the liberty report of Hernandez’s detention in custody saying that her family considered an incorrect death suit depending on the response.

Sperry, paid by Free’s company for autopsy, resigned as Georgia’s leading physician in 2015 after the Atlanta Journal Constitution, in a review of more than five dozen private cases that Sperry worked while employed by state, found that he had been accused of “tailoring conclusions that fit his paying customers” in a number of cases.

Hernandez’s family in Honduras, in a statement released by the Transgender Law Center, criticized Roxsana treatment during the US custody and said she had fled Honduras because of an epidemic of transfobic violence there and “looking for a better life.”

“Everything we have left is hoping we can see justice for her,” the family said. “Justice for Roxsana.”

However, nine capture in ICE storage during the 2018 fiscal year, which ended September 30, and two have died so far in the 2019 fiscal year, which started last month according to the ICE website.

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Daniella Silva contributed.

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