Keskea Hernandez Died After Miami Prison Doctor Accused Her of "Embellishing" Illness

Keep New Times Free
I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Miami and help keep the future of New Times free.

On June 20 of last year, Keskea Hernandez appeared in a federal courthouse to beg for her life. The 42-year-old real estate agent had been locked up in Miami's Federal Detention Center for almost a year since her arrest for mortgage fraud. Formerly pretty and energetic, Hernandez was now thin and wracked with pain. A case of lupus, an auto-immune disorder, had spiraled out of control inside the FDC. She was now vomiting blood.

But FDC officials called her a liar. "Those things that you just heard are embellishment," said FDC clinical director Delvena Thomas, according to court records. A judge agreed and left Hernandez in her cell.

Hernandez died alone and in shackles on January 9, 2013. Read this week's metro story to hear how Hernandez's family say Thomas and others at the FDC all failed her.

Worst of all, interviews and documents obtained by New Times show that Hernandez's death was preventable.

In the six months after her unsuccessful bond appeal, she wrote multiple emails to Thomas -- an Army psychiatrist who we briefly profiled back in 2010 -- other prison officials, and a judge in which she warned that FDC conditions were killing her.

"Please, your honor, give me only 15 minutes... to show you what I have and that I am not making this up," she wrote in a flowery script to federal judge Robert N. Scola on December 4.

Three weeks later, on Christmas Eve, Hernandez was rushed to Larkin Community Hospital where she eventually died.

(Scola, Thomas, Hernandez, and other FDC officials did not respond to repeated requests for comment.)

Read this week's metro story for more information about the tragic case.

Follow Miami New Times on Facebook and Twitter @MiamiNewTimes. Follow this journalist on Twitter @MikeMillerMiami.

Keep Miami New Times Free... Since we started Miami New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Miami, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Miami with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.


Join the New Times community and help support independent local journalism in Miami.


Join the New Times community and help support independent local journalism in Miami.