Franklin coroner asks for records in jail death

Franklin County Coroner Will Harrod plans to subpoena police records to help determine how a Salvadoran immigrant died at the Franklin County Regional Jail while awaiting deportation.

Harrod said Tuesday that he was called to the hospital, not the jail, so he was unable to investigate the scene where Ana Romero Rivera died.

Harrod says he will review state police records, photographs and interviews.

Romero, 44, had been placed in isolation for not eating just before her death, and a preliminary autopsy shows she died of asphyxia by hanging. Police are investigating the death as a suicide.

Harrod said that, in addition to police records, he is waiting for toxicology results and a final autopsy report.

Also this week, representatives with Immigration and Customs Enforcement revealed more information on the status of Romero's deportation.

Though she was in the Franklin County jail, she was technically in the custody of U.S. marshals after pleading guilty to immigration fraud.

On Aug. 22, the day she was pronounced dead, she was going to be transferred to ICE custody for deportation.

ICE officials said via e-mail and in a phone interview that Romero would not have remained in the Franklin County jail. Once in ICE custody, she probably would have been transported to one of the four county jails in Illinois or southern Wisconsin that the Chicago ICE office uses.

Several factors would have played into deciding when she returned to El Salvador. Those include whether she would have waived the right to see an immigration judge, whether she had proper travel documents to return and the time of the next ICE-arranged flight to El Salvador.

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