Gonzalo Montoya Jiménez, a prisoner in Spain, was thought to have died in his sleep after he was found unresponsive in his cell. Three separate doctors verified Jiménez’s death and signed his death certificate. But hours later, as the coroner was about to perform an autopsy, Jiménez began to make a sound that changed everything.
As he lay on the autopsy table, doctors began to hear a strange noise coming from the 29-year-old. They could hardly believe it; he was snoring.
According to CBS News, Jiménez’s snore could not have come at a better time as the coroner had already created marks on his body to help guide him through the autopsy.
Investigators are now looking into how a man who was simply taking a nap was examined by multiple doctors and determined to be dead.
Jiménez was found Sunday morning after he didn’t report for breakfast slumped over in his chair showing no signs of life, according to the Daily Mail.
A spokesman for the Spanish Prison Service issued a statement on the incident.
“Two prison doctors concluded he had clinical signs of death following a morning roll call and informed police, his next-of-kin and a local duty court as part of standard procedure,” the spokesperson 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.”
Dr. James Bernat, a neurologist at Dartmouth College’s Geisel School of Medicine in New Hampshire, shed some light on what might have happened in an interview in 2014.
“You’re dead when a doctor says you’re dead,” he explained. According to the Chicago Tribune, a person can be declared clinically dead if they are deemed braindead or if the heart stops beating and doesn’t begin again.
It is unknown what might have led doctors to their conclusion that Jiménez was dead, but investigators are attempting to determine if the doctors in questions followed proper procedure.