She climbed in to look for something, and accidentally locked herself inside in 90-degree heat.
The wife of a Miami police officer has died after getting trapped in the back of his car.
Clara Paulino, 56, reportedly climbed into the back of her husband Aristides’ police SUV to look for something on Friday afternoon, but accidentally locked herself inside.
Her body was not found until four-and-a-half hours later, after temperatures had reached a sweltering 90 degrees.
The incident is being treated by investigators as a tragic accident, the Miami Herald reported.
They said 58-year-old Aristides, a 25 year veteran of the force and married for 38, had returned from his midnight shift as always on Friday night and gone straight to sleep.
His police Ford Explorer SUV was parked in the driveway, and was left unlocked, according to sources.
While her husband slept inside, Clara reportedly got into the back of the car around 1PM, but the door closed behind her and the self-locking mechanism — designed to secure prisoners and suspects — engaged.
“It’s literally a cage,” one officer told the publication.
She did not have a cellphone, and could not access the horn to alert anyone.
Her body was found by her son, Aristides Jr, at 5:30 PM that day. Her fingerprints were all over the inside of the car.
“Clearly, she was panicked and trying to get out,” another source told the Herald.
What she was looking for in the car, so far remains a mystery.
The Miami-Dade Medical Examiner’s Office has not yet ruled on an official cause of death; however sources claim she had a history of medical problems that may have contributed to her demise.
Miami PD said it will not comment as the investigation is ongoing.