August 9, 2007
PROVIDENCE, R.I. --A Brazilian man who died this week after being picked up on a deportation warrant wasn't given the epilepsy medicine his sister brought to the police station, the woman said.
Edmar Alves Araujo, 34, of Milford, Mass., died Tuesday afternoon after being turned over to Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents by Woonsocket police. Police detained Araujo during a traffic stop after discovering he was wanted on a 2002 deportation warrant, said Paula Grenier, an ICE spokeswoman.
Grenier said Araujo had been in federal custody for a little over an hour when he showed "physical signs of distress" and was taken to Rhode Island Hospital, where he died.
The state medical examiner's office said it was awaiting the results of an autopsy Thursday.
Araujo's sister, Irene Araujo, told The Boston Globe she got a call from her brother and immediately drove to the police station to give police his anti-seizure medication, Gardenal.
"I told them he needed the medication, and I told them he had seizure problems," she said. "He can't skip a day without medication."
Irene Araujo said police refused to take it, saying her brother could tell them if he needed medication. She said a friend tried again to bring the medication to him Wednesday morning, but learned her brother had died.
Woonsocket's police chief did not immediately return a phone message seeking comment Thursday. Grenier declined to comment on Irene Araujo's claims that she told authorities of her brother's condition and need for medication.
Grenier said state and federal authorities would investigate, but state police and the attorney general's office said they were not involved.
Edmar Alves Araujo lived in the United States for about five years and worked at a gas station and as a painter, his sister said. He has a 13-year-old son who lives in Italy.