It’s been more than two weeks since Carlos Mejia-Bonilla died while
he was in the custody of
immigration authorities, however, his family is still trying to figure out exactly
what happened to him at Hudson County Correctional Facility. Unfortunately,
these answers might never be found because an autopsy was never performed.
Hudson County officials began an investigation to determine if Mejia-Bonilla
got proper care for his illnesses during his detention. They were surprised
to find out that the state medical examiner never ordered an autopsy after
determining the death was from natural causes.
Mejia-Bonilla’s family and immigrant advocates fear that the missing
autopsy might set back investigations. Mejia-Bonilla died on June 8 at
Jersey City Medical Center from internal bleeding. His death drew the
attention of the public after family members claimed the jail had ignored
his health conditions. As county officials and the jail's medical
provider promised to investigate the matter, crowds began to rally outside
the jail to demand answers.
Although the absence of an autopsy report has surprised county officials
and complicated the investigation, a medical examiner does have the legal
right to determine whether or not an autopsy will be performed. Autopsies
are only required for homicides, suspicious deaths, and deaths that might
threaten public health interests. According to state law, autopsies are
required for jail and prison inmates unless the medical examiner is able
to conclude the cause of death "beyond a reasonable doubt."
The jail’s health care provider, CFG Health Systems, has declined
to comment on the death but has maintained the stance that it delivers
an "extraordinary" level of care for Hudson Correctional’
Do you have more questions about how inmate autopsies are performed? Contact our team of New York immigration attorneys, or call (212) 577-9312 to find out how we can help you today.