Trans Woman Probably Physically Abused in ICE Custody Before Death, Report Says
An autopsy released Monday showed evidence that a transgender woman who died while in the custody of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) was probably physically abused before dying, the Daily Beast reports.
The woman, identified as 33-year-old Roxsana Hernández Rodriguez, traveled to the U.S. from Honduras and died nine days after she was transferred to a New Mexico facility run by CoreCivic, the news agency reported.
Rodriguez died of “severe complications of dehydration superimposed upon HIV infection,” though the autopsy report also found bruising “typical of handcuff injuries” and blunt-force trauma “indicative of blows, and/or kicks, and possible strikes with blunt object,” according to the Daily Beast.
A spokesperson for CoreCivic told the Daily Beast: “we take the health and well-being of those entrusted to our care very seriously,” and are “committed to providing a safe environment for transgender detainees.”
The federal government partners with CoreCivic to operate detention facilities in Texas that hold immigrant families. The report said that the company, which owns 45 correctional facilities and 24 residential facilities, is the second-largest private prison company in the country. As the number of detainees skyrocketed earlier this year, the CEO expressed excitement to his investors about the “robust kind of sales environment.”
In response to the report, a spokesperson for ICE reached out to Fortune with the following statement:
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) cannot speak to the validity of the private autopsy cited by the Daily Beast; however, allegations that she was abused in ICE custody are false. A review of Hernandez’s death conducted by ICE Health Service Corps medical professionals confirmed that she suffered from a history of untreated HIV. At no time did the medical personnel treating Ms. Hernandez at Cibola General Hospital or Lovelace Medical Center raise any issues of suspected physical abuse.
ICE takes very seriously the health, safety and welfare of those in our care, including those who come into ICE custody with prior medical conditions or who have never before received appropriate medical care. Any death that happens in ICE custody is a cause for concern, and the agency will continue its full review of this case according to standard protocols.
Updated Nov. 26 7:55 p.m.: This story has been updated to add ICE’s response.