Family claims Ladyville police killed Otto Palma

An intensive Police investigation is taking place into the death of a Ladyville youth, 18 year old Otto Palma.

Palma was found dead in a police holding cell at the Ladyville Police Substation Wednesday night.

Palma had been detained pending a charge of rape of a 13 year old girl He wasround found at 7:30pm hanging from the crossbar of his cell, his white t-shirt knotted around his neck.

Palma was accused of the rape on Sunday. The girl told Police she was swimming in the sea near Vista del Mar, when Palma pulled her to a secluded area and raped her.

On Wednesday Palma went to the station to sign in, a condition of bail granted for a prior charge of rape, and Ladyville Police detained him. They informed his mother, Lorna Bardalez, that because the child was insisting that he was her attacker, they would charge him. But those charges were never laid against him.
His mother told the Reporter that at exactly 7:55pm, she received a call asking her to come to the station. But was not told anything else.

Bardalez says she thought her son would be released into her custody, but feared the worst when she saw an ambulance parked outside the station.

Half an hour later, she was asked to identify the body of her son, still hanging from the bar. Bardalez says it was dark and she was in shock, and did not examine the body.

But the family says Otto Palma would never have committed suicide. Palma was no stranger to the Police, and had been charged twice for rape, in 2013 and in 2014.

CIB Head, Supt. Hilberto Romero, told the media that police found no apparent injuries on the body, but because of the circumstances, the Professional Standards Branch of the Police Department was immediately brought in to commence an internal investigation.

The family of Otto Palma, claims that on Sunday when he was detained, Ladyville Police beat him and even threatened to kill him. They are convinced that Palma was the victim of foul play, and not a desperate youth who chose to hang himself in his cell.

The family was not allowed to view the body today because it is a Police matter, but Police say that the post mortem examination will be conducted on Friday, and a family member will have to be present then.

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