Autopsy released in Mercedes DeMarco police custody death
POSTED: Thursday, December 19, 2013 - 1:36pm
UPDATED: Thursday, December 19, 2013 - 11:57pm
El Paso, TX (KTSM) — The Office of the Medical Examiner of El Paso County released the autopsy report on 36-year-old Fernando Gomez. Gomez was well-known in the local community as “Mercedes DeMarco,” a well-known local drag performer who also was known to perform in shows across the state of Texas. The autopsy reveals the primary cause of DeMarco’s death was acute cocaine toxicity, with cardiovascular disease also being a contributing factor.
El Paso Police Detectives were called domestic disturbance call at a motel at 1301 N. Mesa around 4:00 a.m. on Sunday, October 13th. When they arrived on the scene, they found DeMarco, who became aggressive with responding Officers. Witnesses reported that DeMarco tripped on a curb and fell while police were on scene, but then continued to be aggressive with police.
While trying to place DeMarco under arrest, Police tasered her two times. Eventually, DeMarco was placed in the rear of the police car where she became unresponsive while police were transporting her to the police station.
The autopsy report indicates that efforts to revive DeMarco were made on the scene, including the use of an oral tracheal tube, nine electrocardiogram patches, a pulse/oximeter on her right finger and IV lines on her right and left hand.
The autopsy also reveals numerous bruises, cuts and scrapes to DeMarco’s body, which are consistent with witness reports of her falling on the curb during the incident with police. There were also two areas clearly marked on DeMarco’s body where a taser had been used, once on the upper right back and again on the left middle of her back.
The medical examiner indicates that toxicity reports for DeMarco came back positive for (4300 ng/mL) Benzoglecgonine, a breakdown product of cocaine. An additional contributing factor to DeMarco’s death was atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease and to some extent, her morbid obesity. DeMarco was listed as 310 lbs and 5ft 8 inches tall.
The El Paso County medical examiner report concludes that DeMarco’s manner of death is accident, which also indicates that the taser used by police was not the immediate cause of her death.
[Editor’s note: For the purpose of this story, we have referred to the victim as Mercedes DeMarco. DeMarco’s legal name was Fernando Gomez, but in the interest of how DeMarco chose to live her life, we have decided to refer to DeMarco as a woman.]