Clara Paulino, wife of veteran police officer Aristides Paulino, died on Friday when she became trapped in the back of his police SUV in high temperature.
Mr Paulino had finished work and had parked his vehicle on the driveway without locking it. He was asleep in the family home when the incident took place after finishing a night shift.
Mrs Paulino had gone to the SUV looking for something and had climbed in the back to take a closer look when the rear door closed, locking her in, according to the Miami Herald.
The tragic accident happened as it was reported that she did not have a mobile phone with her and was unable to sound the horn to alert passers by of her whereabouts as the SUV has a safety partition disabling detainees from reaching the front seats.
General services director for the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office, Stephen Mitchell, said that it was standard on police vehicles that doors cannot be opened from the inside, thus preventing criminals escaping. Temperatures on Friday had risen well into the 90’s in Miami and her fingerprints were found all over the vehicle, meaning she had panicked when trying to free herself.
Investigators are treating the death of Mrs Paullino, 56, as an accident, however the investigation is ongoing. A police spokesman said that it’s in the preliminary stages but added there is still much work to be done. At the present time it has been registered as an unclassified death.
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