Trans woman was beaten in ICE custody before she died: report

An autopsy released on Monday shows that Roxsana Hernández Rodriguez, a trans woman who died in May while detained by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), was beaten shortly before her death, the Daily Beast reported.

The autopsy shows that Hernández was likely physically abused while in ICE custody at a privately operated detention center in New Mexico. She appears to have died after several days of untreated dehydration, according to the online news outlet.

{mosads}Hernández fled Honduras in order to escape rampant transphobic violence, she told BuzzFeed News in an April interview. She said she contracted HIV after being gang-raped by four members of MS-13 in Honduras.

“Trans people in my neighborhood are killed and chopped into pieces, then dumped inside potato bags,” Hernández told BuzzFeed. “They kill trans people in Honduras. I’m scared of that.”

Hernández’s attorney told the Daily Beast that she was tortured while detained by ICE.

“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,” said Andrew Free, who is representing Hernández’s family.

Hernández’s autopsy showed “deep bruising” on her hands and abdomen, trauma on her body “indicative of blows and/or kicks” and “possible strikes with a blunt object.” She also sustained wrist wounds “typical of handcuff injuries.”

Forensic pathologist Kris Sperry wrote that Hernández developed “severe diarrhea and vomiting” while she was detained in Cibola County Correctional Center.

“There she developed severe diarrhea 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,” Sperry wrote, according to the Daily Beast.

Sperry wrote that Hernández did not receive medical care for her intensifying “diarrhea and vomiting episodes” for multiple days “until she was gravely ill.”

A spokesman for ICE did not respond to the Daily Beast’s requests for comment. ICE did not immediately respond to a request for comment from The Hill.

At the time of Hernández’s death in May, ICE said in a statement that “comprehensive medical care is provided from the moment detainees arrive and throughout the entirety of their stay.”

LGBTQ groups have called attention to Hernández’s death as they highlight all trans women who have died in the criminal justice system.

“Paired with the abuse we know transgender people regularly suffer in ICE detention, the death of Ms. Hernández sends the message that transgender people are disposable and do not deserve dignity, safety, or even life,” Isa Noyola, deputy director at Transgender Law Center, said in a statement in May.


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