Man declared ‘dead’ in prison cell wakes up in body bag right before autopsy

It is often joked that some who are deep sleepers could be confused for being dead.

And for one man, locked away in a Spanish prison, his ability to sleep so deeply nearly ended up with him undergoing an autopsy while still alive.

Then 29-years-old, Gonzalo Montoya Jimenez was found supposedly dead in his cell – where he was serving time for a robbery – in 2018.

He was checked by three separate medical professionals, before being transported to the prison morgue at the maximum-security wing of the Asturias Central Penitentiary in northwest Spain.

And he was taken there in a body bag.

Having made it to the morgue in one piece, pathologists suddenly heard a noise coming from the bag.

Mr Jimenez was snoring – loudly.

It turned out that two of the doctors had checked him in his cell, saw he was unconscious and apparently couldn't find any vital signs, or any evidence of violence having taken place.

He was declared dead, and an hour later a forensic doctor did the same.

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But the third doctor realised something was wrong when, having marked the body with scalpel guidelines, the man suddenly started waking up.

Local news reports at the time said: “Forensic doctors began to hear noises coming from inside the bag. Montoya was not dead. Quite the opposite.

“The forensic pathologist proceeded to open the bag and found the inmate still alive.”

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The man was hauled into an ambulance and taken to another hospital to recover from whatever it was that caused him to show no signs of life.

But nobody in the prison could figure out how it happened.

A spokesman for the Spanish Prison Service said: “I can't comment on what happened at the Institute of Legal Medicine, but three doctors have seen clinical signs of death so it's still not clear at the moment exactly why this occurred.”

It later became apparent that the man had complained about feeling ill the day before, and officials claimed that his body had shown signs of rigor mortis and his skin was purple – a classic sign of the body not getting enough oxygen.

To this day, no explanation has been given for what happened, but it was told that the man woke up and asked to see his wife – which is probably a good idea.

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