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Miami police officer's wife dies after getting locked in SUV

Posted at 10:45 AM, Aug 26, 2020

MIAMI SHORES, Fla. (AP) — Authorities say a Florida police officer’s wife died after becoming trapped in the back of his patrol vehicle for several hours during a hot afternoon.

Investigators are treating the death of 56-year-old Clara Paulino as an accident. She died Friday afternoon while her 58-year-old husband Aristides Paulino was sleeping in their Miami Shores home after finishing a midnight shift.

The Miami Herald reports Paulino woke up around 5 p.m. and started looking for his wife, finding her cell phone on the back patio. He and one of his sons found Clara in the vehicle.

Officials say she had climbed into the backseat of his marked SUV to find something when the doors somehow closed, and a self-locking mechanism engaged. The vehicle has a partition between the back seat and front seat, meaning Clara could not reach the horn.

“It’s literally a cage,” one Miami police officer familiar with the vehicle told the Miami Herald.

Temperatures reached over 90 degrees as she spent about four hours in the vehicle.