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Jun 10, 2015

But What Does the Autopsy Report Really Say?

Up to news time, there has been no statement from the police department on the crisis they have on their hands. But we can confirm that aside from the two officers that have been charged today, three others are on interdiction until the determination of a tribunal. Corporal Kirby Palma, Eriberto Patt and Bernardette Ramos are facing thirteen disciplinary charges, including acting uncivil while on duty, neglect, use of unwarranted violence, prejudice to good order.  Sotz is the third person who has died while in police custody on Caye Caulker; the most recent was Alex Gough who was shot and killed inside a holding cell. Now, back to the postmortem conducted by Forensic Pathologist, Doctor Mario Estradabran, into Sotz’s cause of death.  The second form student did not die of natural causes.  In fact, the report indicates that Sotz succumbed to a number of conditions, including cerebral edema or brain swelling.  The other disorders are described in medical lingo, jargons the layman would not readily understand.  So, we turned to Doctor Fernando Cuellar, an internist at the Belize Medical Associates, for translation of the language.  He too was baffled by what he read.


Dr. Fernando Cuellar, Internist, Belize Medical Associates

“It has here vascular shock which I am not familiar with the terminology; massive heart thrombosis, again it is not in my mind any medical terminology, acute post-traumatic, I’m not sure if it says acute post-traumatic cerebral edema which means that there was injury to brain but that may be what it’s saying here.  But long-short story is that I’m pretty much confused with these diagnoses, you know.  They are not telling me anything actually.”


Marleni Cuellar

“As an experienced physician, are you saying that those aren’t medical terms that explain the cause of death?”


Fernando Cuellar

Dr. Fernando Cuellar

“They are not cause of death.  Vascular shock, I know nothing called vascular shock.”


Marleni Cuellar

“Now the father, who is not listed on the death certificate, has pointed out to our reporters that he has been told by physicians that there were also blood clots to the brain, chest and stomach.  What would cause an eighteen-year-old to have those types of injuries or clots?”


Dr. Fernando Cuellar

“Well it would be hard or highly irregular for me to think of any conditions that would lead to blood clots in these three organs at the same time.  I mean you can have a blood clot to your lung but pretty much for it to suddenly appear without any risk factors that’s a bit unusual.  And if you are talking about blood clot to the brain then you are talking about a stroke.  I’m not sure if, I mean he must have bled within the stomach and then that blood formed a clot within the stomach area.  But it’s again, I think those are not medical terminologies and I can’t conclude anymore from that.  But what I am disappointed and saddened by is the terminology used on the death certificate as causes of death because from a medical standpoint and I have been practicing medicine for more than twenty years, I can’t relate to that as a cause of death, vascular shock.”


Marleni Cuellar

“Now, this is obviously a highly public case at this point and a very emotional one.  The ultimate information that is supposed to be ascertained from that post mortem is whether or not this young man died from natural causes or from injuries sustained while he was detained.  Can you determine that from what that death certificate says?”


Dr. Fernando Cuellar

“No.  I would even think that this report, conclusion, diagnosis, certificate is very much inconclusive and it makes no sense.”


As we mentioned, the family intends to take legal action against the Belize Police Department for the death of Sotz.

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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8 Responses for “But What Does the Autopsy Report Really Say?”

  1. me says:

    Di pa need fi get wah nada post mortem done. He den need for sue di govament. Latta petrocaribe money do spend. Get u amount befo dem dallaz done.

  2. Evad says:

    Estradabran is inventing new medical terminologies. This is the same doctor who certified the cause of death of a man believed to have been killed by a crocodile as “exsanguination traumatic amputation of the upper limbs due to crocodile syndrome”. He seems to be taking the death of people as his own personal amusement.

  3. CEO says:

    The child was so brutalized there are no standard medical terminologies to describe what the forensic pathologist saw. He had to string together a few medical words / terminologies to try and describe what he saw.

    With very little research I was able to find out that Shock In medicine, is a critical condition that is brought on by a sudden drop in blood flow through the body. The circulatory system fails to maintain adequate blood flow, sharply curtailing the delivery of oxygen and nutrients to vital organs.

    The bottom line is no health teenager gets hauled into the police station and a few hours later shows up dead with internal signs of trauma. Cuellar’s disparaging comments to a colleague is what I find disheartening and confusing.

  4. Corrupted Belize says:

    How about the government looking into replacing Estradabran… you know how many autopsy report would be inconclusive if proper investigation would be conducted. ..
    I’ve said this and I’ll say it again, the whole system in Belize is corrupted. Starting from the government coming right down the ladder to BPD ( Belize Police Dept.)

  5. Al says:

    And here it starts. The case already halfway to be thrown out before it even gets started. Every single police person in that station should be arrested for murder. When a gun is found in a house, the entire family gets charged. When a murder happen by culprits, they all get charged, even if its just one that pulled the trigger. All those police were in there, they should all be charged together, and all should be in jail right now. I hope they also sue the government so that the minister can really start put pressure on the commissioner to clean up his police department. The commissioner should also be forced to resign.

  6. Unemployed Belizean Pathologist says:

    News Flash: TWO QUALIFIED RECENTLY RETURNED BELIZEAN PATHOLOGISTS still remain unemployed while the employed “forensic pathologist” is using outdated language that cannot legally stand up in court.

  7. Concern Belizean says:

    Estradabran is not a pathologist. He is a lab technician. He has no degree in pathology, at all, and it is a crying shame that he continues to work under UDP and PUP governments. He is a fool who is responsible for the inability to prosecute murderers. Its a dirty secret in the public service. Everyone in Police and hospital know he is an idiot. Noone will say much sake of they no wan lose their job.

  8. Belizesoul says:

    Estradabram autopsied my husband in 2003 at the morgue, after I paid for it ( I am American). Cause of death- inconclusive! Same s__t, diffrent decade!

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