Jose Franco died in the custody of the Rhode Island Department of Corrections (RIDOC) on February 9. Mrs. Franco was notified by a fellow inmate of the ACI who found out through a prison reverend.
“When I heard about his death, I heard it the wrong way. I shouldn’t have heard it that way,” Marie Franco tells the crowd at a car rally in her son’s honor. “Someone from the prison should have come [forth] and told me about it.”
The statement from RIDOC did not identify Jose Franco by name stating it needed “confirmation that the next of kin has been notified.” The statement reported that an unnamed prisoner was found ‘unresponsive’ in his cell. Mrs. Franco was not notified of her son’s death. Franco went to the prison but was not allowed to see her son’s body. She told UpriseRI she tracked her son down at the morgue, although she prevented from seeing the body due to COVID-19 restrictions.
Franco officials told her that her son was found in his cell unresponsive. A later statement reported that he had died of a heart attack.
“I want to know how my son died.”
Franco will have to wait 90 days for the results of a private autopsy. Jose Franco’s death is the fourth incarcerated death in RIDOC custody documented since December 2020.