Questions remain following death of Miami officer’s wife who was trapped inside his police vehicle

MIAMI SHORES, Fla. – Investigators are trying to figure out how the wife of a veteran City of Miami officer became trapped inside his police SUV. 

She died after possibly being trapped inside that vehicle for several hours, police said. 

Local 10's Layron Livingston met the victim's uncle outside the home.

He said the family is in the process of making funeral arrangements.

Meanwhile, Miami-Dade police are still calling it an unclassified death investigation.

A family is in mourning and neighbors are in disbelief after the death of 56-year-old Clara Paulino. 

"She raised wonderful children," said neighbor Daphne Stewart. "Her husband, all of them, just nice people."

Miami police confirm Officer Aristides Paulino was assigned to the SUV that Paulino died inside. 

The department said he normally works overnight, from 9 p.m. to 7 a.m., in the Wynwood area.

Miami Police Chief Jorge Colina expressed the department’s sympathies on Tuesday. 

“He’s a veteran officer of about 25 years in this department, and so, of course, our heart goes out to him and his family,” said Colina. 

Neighbors said Officer Paulino typically parked on the side of his Miami Shores home.

At some point after his shift, his wife went out to the back of that police SUV and got trapped inside.

Her body was not discovered until around 5:30 p.m. Friday.

“I can’t imagine, I don’t think anybody can, to lose your life in that way,” Colina said. “It’s pretty horrific, and so we’re all pretty shocked by it.”

One neighbor told Local 10′s Layron Livingston that he’s seen the victim go into the back of her husband’s police SUV before and thought it was odd, but not alarming.

Authorities have yet to say why she was in the back of the SUV.

The medical examiner said they’ve yet to determine a cause or manner of death, and the case is “currently pending under investigation.”

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