The court complex in Malaga. / sur

Autopsy still not carried out on woman who died in Fuengirola police station cells because she tested positive for Covid

The court is unable to continue its investigation into her death without the autopsy report but the Institute of Legal Medicine in Malaga does not have the facilities to deal with cases like this

JUAN CANO / ÁLVARO FRÍAS Malaga

She died on Monday of Easter week in the cells at Fuengirola police station. An officer found her huddled against the door, unconscious, at the time of the evening meal. Efforts to resuscitate her were unsuccessful and when medical staff arrived they could only certify that she had died. She was 23 years old, and from Finland.

The cause of death is now being investigated by a court in Fuengirola, but one key piece of evidence is not yet available: the autopsy report. Over a week after she died, this has not yet been carried out because the young woman had tested positive for Covid-19.

She had been arrested by Local Police officers on the morning of 11 April after an altercation with her partner’s mother. They took her to a hospital to be examined, and she was prescribed a treatment and allowed to leave so the officers took her to the National Police headquarters in Fuengirola, where she was put into a cell.

No defibrillators in police station

It was that same evening that she was discovered unconscious. The court has been told that the officer who found her, with the help of two others, tried to resuscitate her – there are no defibrillators in the police station – while waiting for the ambulance, but it took half an hour to arrive and when it did get there, it was not an emergency vehicle.

Her body was taken to the Institute of Legal Medicine in Malaga for an autopsy but a PCR test was carried out first, which is normal procedure during the pandemic. If the test is positive the cause of death is supposed to be certified in a different and minimally invasive way, but in this case it didn’t happen.

Also, initial analysis detected narcotic substances in her body, making it more difficult to determine the cause of her death.

Lacks Covid safety and protection features

The problem is that according to the Junta de Andalucía, minimally invasive autopsies on people who have tested positive for Covid-19 have to be carried out in a special room with certain safety and protection features, and the IML in Malaga does not have this facility.

Another test was due to be carried out yesterday, Monday, and the authorities will now decide the next step. It is possible that she could be moved to the Reina Sofía hospital in Cordoba, which does have the facilities for an autopsy of this type, to determine the cause of death.

In the meantime, the court is still waiting for the information it needs to continue its investigation.