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Apr 21, 2020

Was a Post-mortem Done to Determine Cause of Death of Ulysease Roca?

Ulysease Roca

The family of Ulysease Roca, a gay fashion designer, is questioning the cause of his death. There was no autopsy done on the body before it was cremated so the family has become suspicious over the cause of his demise.  When he was detained for curfew violations, Ulysease claimed on video that he had been beaten by the police while in lock down. Today, News Five’s Duane Moody spoke to a pathologist about what procedure may have been used to determine that Ulysease died of multiple organ failure. Here is that story.


Duane Moody, Reporting

It has been an emotional journey for the family of Ulysease Roca, a twenty-five-year-old fashion designer from Willows Bank Village, who was found dead inside his house in the village. There have been so much speculation as to what caused his death and the family cannot find closure to his tragic demise. The body of Ulysease was cremated on Monday, following a post-mortem at the medical college on the Boom/Hattieville Road. But today, sister Delita Roca questioned whether one was in fact carried out because Ulysease was HIV positive.


Delita Roca

Delita Roca, Sister of Deceased

“He was already decomposed, he was already smelling and whatever so the funeral home had already informed us that we had to do the cremation after they were finished with the body. So yesterday afternoon the cremation was done. But last night I just wanted to make sure that they did a post-mortem so I asked the funeral home if any incisions were on his body or any marks or signs of anything that a post-mortem was done and he said that no incisions were made and no marks or anything to prove that they did an autopsy on him.”


The police department reports that a medical officer conducted a post-mortem examination which concluded that the cause of death was certified as due to multiple organ failure. Now it is known that Roca, in a recorded video, stated that while he was in police detention for breaching the curfew, he had been struck to the face by a police officer. That triggered an investigation by the department.


Chester Williams

Chester Williams, Commissioner of Police

“I saw a Facebook post where he had gone live and expressed that he was hit to the face by a police officer whilst in custody. He also showed his jaw to be swollen and in that same live, he also made some allegations against some other persons whom he was saying were bullying him.  I am not going to say that his death was caused due to police beating him. I am not going to say it was not either because from what he said in his video, the police hit him on the jaw. I don’t think a hit on the jaw would cause someone’s death.”


The family believes otherwise. And questions whether the trauma from the beating caused his death.


Delita Roca

“Last night on the news the police said that the cause of death was multiple organ failure, but if no autopsy was done, I don’t know how they came to that conclusion so we are wondering the same thing presently.  We think that the infection that he had obviously we saw the swelling that he had. Obviously we think it was infected and we think that if like the police said it was organ failure, it was caused by the infection that he had. With the swelling and what my brother came to us with was from the hit that he got from the officer that hit him in the face.  So that’s what we are thinking caused the swelling and the infection that led to the multiple organ failure that they are claiming. But like I said, we don’t know because from what the funeral home told us, no incisions were made on the body; no proof that any autopsy was done.”


Today, News Five sought answers and in a sit-down with pathologist Doctor Hugh Sanchez we found out several things.

One: a post-mortem simple means the examination of the human body after death, which may involve an external and/or internal examination. That internal exam, which is referred to as an autopsy, includes the removal of organs which are then tested.

Two: as a rule, autopsies are not done on the cadavers of HIV patients because the bloody procedure puts the medical personnel at risk. This supports what the allegation that there were no incisions on the Ulysease’s body.

Three: if a doctor is satisfied with the medical history of a patient and carries out an external exam, he can make a determination of cause of death.

Doctor Sanchez says that a limited autopsy procedure could have been done where the doctor could have made an incision to the abdomen to take a cursory look to determine whether the spleen or liver had been ruptured, suggesting that there was trauma to the body which caused internal bleeding. Doctor Sanchez, in a professional capacity, does not believe that Ulysease died as a result of an infection.

Duane Moody for News Five.

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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