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Transgender woman found dead in NYC jail cell

NEW YORK — Layleen Polanco, 27, was found unresponsive in a jail cell on New York City’s Rikers Island on Friday afternoon. She is the 10th transgender woman of color to die of unknown circumstances this year.

NBC News reported that she was found when an officer was conducting a tour of the Rose M. Singer Center, Rikers’ facility for female inmates.

From NBC News:

[Department of Corrections] custodial staff performed CPR on her until medical staff arrived at approximately 2:51 p.m. Medics tried to revive her for about an hour before she was declared dead, according to the DOC. She was 27.

“We are heartbroken over the death of our beloved Layleen, whose bright light was an inspiration to all who knew her,” her family said in a statement Sunday, adding that the city “failed to protect Layleen.”

“The family demands answers and we are entitled to them,” the statement said.

A cause of death has not been determined, but the DOC said it was not the result of violence. An investigation is underway.

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