Photo may have been deleted


The wife of a Miami police officer died of cardiac arrest after she became trapped in the backseat of her husband's police SUV.

Clara Paulino, 56, died in a freak accident after she became trapped in the cage of the backseat of the patrol unit that is equipped to prevent escape.

Paulino died sometime after 1 p.m. on Friday in the backseat of the patrol unit. Her husband, Aristides Paulino, a Miami Shores cop, had completed his night shift and went straight to bed that morning.

Sometime before noon, Mrs. Paulino climbed into the back seat of the marked police Ford Explorer SUV "in search of something," then could not escape the backseat cage area.

The couple's son found her body around 5:30 p.m. -- about four and a half-hours after she got trapped, according to

Her fingerprints were found all over the inside of the SUV. "Clearly, she was panicked and trying to get out," a police source told the Miami Herald. The temperature peaked at 90 degrees on Friday.

Photo may have been deleted

Miami PD

The cage prevented her from reaching over the backseat to honk the horn, said the source. Additionally, there were bars on the back windows and the windows were coated in blackout tint, making it impossible for anyone to see her.

Members of a Facebook police wives support group suggested she was probably searching for evidence of her husband's infidelity, i.e. dried semen on the backseat.

The Aristides were married for 28 years, according to

The police source told the Herald Paulino had a history of medical problems that may have contributed to her death inside the hot SUV.