Sotomayor says one of her relatives was among those initially uncounted in Puerto Rico death toll

Posted at 10:58 AM, Sep 04, 2018
and last updated 2018-09-04 12:58:42-04

Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor said Tuesday she was skeptical of the previous death toll from Hurricane Maria because she knew of people whose deaths after the storm went uncounted — including a relative.

“Regrettably, I wasn’t quite accepting of the 64 person number because, not just my family, but many, many families in Puerto Rico experienced losses attributable to that storm,” Sotomayor said on ABC’s “The View.”

Hailing from New York, Sotomayor is the first Hispanic justice on the Supreme Court and is of Puerto Rican descent.

In Tuesday’s interview, she said her cousin’s elderly uncle was on a ventilator when power went out on the island last year.

“He was like that struggling to breathe for eight days,” Sotomayor said. “And there was a heat wave that followed the storm, and he was constantly sweating, and there was no ice to cool him off.”

Sotomayor said he did not survive and was not part of the earlier death toll that said only a few dozen people died from the storm.

“He wasn’t part of the 64,” Sotomayor said. “And we knew many others who weren’t either.”

Puerto Rico maintained for months that only 64 people died as a result of the storm last year, and after public reports to the contrary and study, Puerto Rico raised its death toll to 2,975.