MIAMI SHORES, FLA. (WSVN) - The wife of a City of Miami Police officer died after she became trapped in her husband’s patrol unit outside their home under sweltering conditions, The Miami Herald reported.
According to the report, Clara Paulino got into the back seat of the SUV, parked outside the couple’s home in Miami Shores to look for something, Friday afternoon, and got trapped inside for four hours without any way of contacting anyone.
The report said that Paulino’s family found her.
Neighbor Daphne Stewart said it wasn’t unusual to see Paulino go into her husband’s police vehicle.
“I don’t think anybody could imagine anything like that ever happening,” she said.
Other area residents who spoke to 7News off-camera said the entire situation is horrific.
Another South Florida police department showed 7News a similar SUV on Monday afternoon. They said the vehicle’s doors lock on their own once they close.
The Herald reported that a partition between the back seat and the front seat likely prevented Paulino from being able to honk the horn, and she didn’t have her cellphone with her to call for help.
The heat index around the time of the reported incident, was 91 degrees at around 1 p.m. At 3 p.m., it was up to 92, and at 5 p.m. it stayed at 92.
“I believe it’s just an unfortunate situation that happened,” said Stewart.
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 in Wynwood and has worked for the department for more than 25 years. The report said he got home and fell asleep but may have left his unit unlocked.
But neighbors said it doesn’t make a difference to them how it happened.
“It’s a very unfortunate situation that I know everybody’s trying to figure out, but I say, for me, at the end of the day, it doesn’t matter to me,” said Stewart. “My friend, neighbor is gone, and I’m sure it was horrifying for her and horrifying for her family.”
Paulino’s family and the Miami Police Department have declined to comment on the death investigation.
The case has been turned over to Miami-Dade Police.
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