Transgender asylum seeker allegedly beaten before her death according to autopsy
A pathologist's report has allegedly found evidence that a trans woman who died while in the custody of Immigration and Customs Enforcement custody was beaten and neglected. Furthermore, the same report alleges that Roxsana Hernández Rodriguez, a 33-year-old a transgender woman from Honduras, died of dehydration brought about through diarrhoea on May 25, nine days after being transferred to a Cibola County Correctional Center in New Mexico. The center is maintained by the private prison company CoreCivic.
Rodriguez had been admitted to a local hospital, and later the Lovelace Medical Center in Albuquerque, where she died while in intensive care. Doctors there attributed her death to dehydration and pneumonia, which had been exacerbated by HIV. Andrew Free, a lawyer representing Rodriguez's family, stated: "She journeyed thousands of miles fleeing persecution and torture at home only to be met with neglect and torture in this country’s for-profit human cages."
Forensic pathologist Kris Sperry wrote: "She developed severe diarrhoea and vomiting over the course of several days and finally was emergently hospitalized, then transported to Lovelace Medical Center in Albuquerque, New Mexico, where she remained critically ill until her death ... According to observations of other detainees who were with Ms Hernández Rodriguez, the diarrhoea and vomiting episodes persisted over multiple days with no medical evaluation or treatment, until she was gravely ill."
A spokesperson for the ICE responded by claiming: "U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) cannot speak to the validity of the private autopsy cited by The Daily Beast; however, allegations that she was abused in ICE custody are false. A review of Hernandez’s death conducted by ICE Health Service Corps medical professionals confirmed that she suffered from a history of untreated HIV. At no time did the medical personnel treating Ms Hernandez at Cibola General Hospital or Lovelace Medical Center raise any issues of suspected physical abuse."
They added: "ICE takes very seriously the health, safety and welfare of those in our care, including those who come into ICE custody with prior medical conditions or who have never before received appropriate medical care. Any death that happens in ICE custody is a cause for concern, and the agency will continue its full review of this case according to standard protocols."
Rodriguez had previously stated in an interview with Buzzfeed News that she had fled Honduras to seek asylum in the US as a result of the transphobic persecution she had faced at home. She stated: "Trans people in my neighbourhood are killed and chopped into pieces, then dumped inside potato bags. I didn’t want to come to Mexico—I wanted to stay in Honduras but I couldn’t… They kill trans people in Honduras. I’m scared of that."
She made a six-week journey across Mexico to San Ysidro, where she was then taken into custody on May 9. Three weeks later, she was dead - in the one facility that was trumpeted as allegedly safe for transgender asylum seekers.