Amtrak Passenger’s Death Remains Mystery

Colorado authorities are still searching for the cause of death of a woman who was found unconscious aboard an Amtrak train in Denver last September.

That has frustrated Denver Chief Medical Examiner Dr. James Caruso, who said, “We sort of feel like we failed. The autopsy for us is the deceased person trying to tell us their story. How’d they end up in our suite?”

What is known is that the deceased is 28-year-old Marina Placencia, of Racine, Wisconsin.

Her death was being investigated by Denver police because Placencia had suffered blunt force trauma injuries.

An autopsy found 35 instances of injuries, including a large number of contusions, bruises, 10 broken ribs and bleeding in her stomach.

Police said Placencia had suffered physical abuse from a boyfriend in Wisconsin.

Witnesses and available public records showed that Placencia bought an Amtrak ticket and traveled from Milwaukee to Denver, changing trains in Chicago.

Tickets show Placencia and her four children were with her on California Zephyr.

A passenger who was not identified in a Denver Post story said that she boarded No. 5 in Holdrege, Nebraska, and didn’t hear any disturbances.

However, as the train approached the Denver station, “over the speaker, I heard somebody saying, ‘Is there a doctor?’” she said.

“I saw her [Placencia] in the aisle on the floor. Nobody was around her. I assumed she had already passed away,”

Paramedics tried to resuscitate Placencia before police arrived.

“They said they were waiting for the detectives and make sure nobody had killed her on the train. Their words not my words. They just wanted to make sure. Have an investigation,” the passenger said.

Caruso told the Post that he has continued to question the case even after the “undetermined” ruling was made of the death.

“There’s all kinds of red flags in the history here,” Caruso said. “We knew that going in. We’d like nothing more than to come up with another manner of death in this case.”

Caruso said he supported the cause of death as unknown because none of the bruises, contusions or broken bones were likely fatal.

However, he didn’t rule out further investigation as new facts become available.

“If new information comes about, I am certainly willing to change my opinion,” Caruso said.

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