WAUKEGAN, Ill. (CBS) — Police said 21-year-old Abel Rosiles swallowed drugs and died – but his family hired a world-famous investigator whose findings could change everything.

CBS 2 Political Investigator Dana Kozlov took a hard look Thursday into Rosiles’ death while in police custody a little over a year ago, as his family pushes for answers.

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Rosiles was seen on the ground during his June 2020 arrest for disorderly conduct by Round Lake Beach police officers. Minutes later, the college student was dead.

And more than a year later, Rosiles’ family still believes the officers caused his death by putting a sock and a drug baggie in his mouth.
“I shouldn’t be here,” said Rosiles’ sister, Fabiola Rosiles. “My brother should be here.”

The original autopsy from the Lake County Coroner’s office concluded Rosiles intentionally swallowed the bag. Now, they say Lake County State’s Attorney Eric Rinehart is promising to test the baggie for DNA.

“If that bag has DNA from any one of those officers on it, that’s a serious problem,” said the Rosiles family’s lawyer, John Chwarzynski Jr.

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Rosiles’ family also gave the State’s Attorney the results of their own independent autopsy, conducted by well-known pathologist Dr. Michael Baden and Lake County’s former coroner, Dr. Thomas Rudd.

Rudd said they found Rosiles suffered a brain hemorrhage after falling while running from police with his hands cuffed behind him, and concluded that was death factor number one.

The second death factor, Rudd said, “There was prone restraint that cut off the oxygen supply to the lungs and to the brain.”

That autopsy also raises questions about how Rosiles, who was talking early on in his arrest, managed to grab that baggie with his hands cuffed behind him.

“How does somebody take their shoes and socks off, pick up a sock that allegedly has a baggie with a substance, get the baggie out, swallow it, and then leave the sock in his mouth?” Rudd said.

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A spokesperson for State’s Attorney Rinehart, who has been in office less than a year, said it is still an active investigation. As for specific evidence, he would only say all of it is being preserved and reviewed.