Autopsy Reveals Trans Woman Who Died In ICE Was Brutally Beaten

The autopsy of 33-year-old transgender woman Roxsana Hernández Rodriguez has revealed that her body had evidence of physical abuse like "deep bruising".

Trans Woman who dies in ICE, looking at the camera. Her autopsy revealed she was brutally beaten.

Roxsana Hernández Rodriguez fled to the US from Honduras in May with a caravan of Central American migrants to escape brutality. An autopsy has since revealed she was brutally beaten and neglected.

In an interview with Buzzfeed News prior to her death, Hernández Rodriguez said, “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 added.

When she arrived at the US, she was held in an Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) facility in New Mexico, which is operated by CoreCivic, the second-largest private prison company in the United States.

It has since been reported that she has passed away after going a long period of time untreated for dehydration.

Kris Sperry, the forensic pathologist who wrote the report said she experienced diarrhoea and vomiting over “multiple days,” to the point of her becoming “gravely ill” before receiving medical treatment.

According to a Buzzfeed report, Hernández Rodriguez entered the San Ysidro Port of Entry on May 9 and asked for asylum. According to ICE, she was then detained by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), then placed in ICE custody on May 13.

Trans Woman who dies in ICE
Roxana Hernandez, right, a transgender woman who was part of the caravan of Central American migrants, died in ICE custody at a hospital in Albuquerque, New Mexico

While the original press release from ICE reporting that she was transferred to a transgender unit at the Cibola County Correctional Center on May 16, then admitted to Cibola General Hospital on May 17 “with symptoms of pneumonia, dehydration and complications associated with HIV,” and that her preliminary cause of death was cardiac arrest, a later autopsy has revealed that Hernández Rodriguez’s treatment was “far beyond neglectful.”

According to the attorney representing her family, her death was “entirely preventable,” revealing she was neglected as well as beaten, with evidence of “extensive haemorrhaging”, “deep bruising”, and “blows, and/or kicks, and possible strikes with a blunt object.”

“Roxsana was shackled for a long time and very tightly, enough to cause deep bruising on her wrists. She also had deep bruising, injuries consistent with physical abuse with a baton or asp while she was handcuffed, according to an examination of the tissue by an independent expert board-certified forensic pathologist,” Lynly Egyes, the Transgender Law Centre’s director of litigation, said in a statement on Monday.

Trans Woman who dies in ICE
ICE said she was being held in the transgender unit at the Cibola County Detention Center in Milan, New Mexico when she began suffering from complications related to HIV

“In the final days of her life, she was transferred from California to Washington to New Mexico, shackled for days on end. If she was lucky, she was given a bottle of water to drink,” she added.

Hernández Rodriguez’s family’s lawyer, Andrew Free and the Transgender Law Centre have since filed a Notice of Wrongful Death Tort Claim in the New Mexico.

Free said, “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.”

In April, Hernández Rodriguez told Buzzfeed News that she had contracted HIV after being raped by four members of the MS-13 gang in Honduras. According to Hernández Rodriguez’s sisters, she dreamed of opening a beauty salon to help her family in Honduras.

“It’s difficult to accept that she was taken from us because of negligence, because of not giving her support and medication that she needed, because they treated her like an animal. It’s not fair that she fled Honduras looking for a better life and instead she was murdered. Now, all we have left with is the hope that we can see justice for her,” they said following the autopsy report.

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