The Miami Herald reported that the wife of a Miami police officer died after she was trapped in her husband’s patrol unit outside their home in harsh conditions.
According to the report, Clara Paulino sat in the back seat of an SUV, stopped outside the couple’s house in the Miami Shores to look for something, and was trapped inside for four hours with no way to contact anyone.
The report said that Paulino’s family found her.
Neighbor Daphne Stewart said it was not unusual to see Paulino get into her husband’s police car.
“I don’t think anyone could ever imagine anything like this happening,” she said.
Other residents of the area said outside the camera that the whole situation was appalling.
Another South Florida police department offered a similar SUV. They said that the car’s doors close on their own once closed.
The Herald reported that the bulkhead between the back seat and the front seat likely prevented Paulino from knocking her horn, and she did not have her cell phone with her to seek help.
The temperature index at the time of the reported accident was 91 degrees around 1 pm. At 3 pm it reached 92, and at 5 pm it stayed at 92.
“I think it’s just an unfortunate situation that happened,” Stewart said.
Neighbors said they remember seeing a large amount of police cars outside the house, with little information about what happened to the officer’s wife until the report was published.
“My heart hurts for her and her family,” said Stewart.
According to the Miami Herald, Paulino’s husband, Aristides Paulino, covers the midnight shift at Wynwood and has worked in the department for over 25 years. The report stated that he came home and fell asleep, but may have left his unit unlocked.
But the neighbors said that how this happens does not affect them.
“It’s a very unfortunate situation and I know everyone is trying to figure it out, but I say, to me, at the end of the day, I don’t care,” Stewart said. “My friend, my neighbor, is gone, and I’m sure it was horrific for her and terrible for her family.”
Paulino’s family and the Miami Police Department declined to comment on the death investigation.
The case was handed over to the Miami Dade Police.