7-year-old Guatemalan girl died in Border Patrol custody

A 7-year-old Guatemalan girl died last week, hours after she was taken into Border Patrol custody, the Depar...

Posted: Dec 14, 2018 4:00 PM
Updated: Dec 14, 2018 4:00 PM

A 7-year-old Guatemalan girl died last week, hours after she was taken into Border Patrol custody, the Department of Homeland Security said.

The Washington Post first reported Thursday that the girl died of dehydration and septic shock last week in El Paso, Texas after she was taken into custody by Border Patrol after crossing illegally with her father into the United States.

Border control

Business, economy and trade

Deaths and fatalities

Economic policy

Economy and economic indicators

Excise and customs

Government organizations - US

International relations

International relations and national security

International trade

International trade law

National security

Society

Tariffs and customs

Territorial and national borders

Trade and development

Trade regulation and policy

US Customs and Border Protection

US Department of Homeland Security

US federal departments and agencies

Immigration

Immigration, citizenship and displacement

Central America

Continents and regions

Guatemala

Investigations

Latin America

North America

Southwestern United States

Texas

The Americas

United States

"Our sincerest condolences go out to the family of the child," the Department of Homeland Security, which oversees Border Patrol, said in a statement.

"Border Patrol agents took every possible step to save the child's life under the most trying of circumstances. As fathers and mothers, brothers and sisters, we empathize with the loss of any child."

The girl and her father were part of a large group of migrants who approached Border Patrol agents in a remote area of the New Mexico desert last Thursday, the newspaper reported, citing US Customs and Border Protection records.

The child began having seizures hours after she was taken into custody and was airlifted to the Providence Children's Hospital in El Paso, CBP told the Post.

Cardiac arrest

She went into cardiac arrest and was revived by medics but the girl couldn't recover and died less than 24 hours later, DHS told CNN in a statement.

"Due to patient confidentiality, the hospital is unable to provide any patient information and is referring any inquiries regarding this patient to CBP," said Monique Poessiger, a hospital spokeswoman.

A DHS spokesperson said an autopsy will be performed but the results could take several weeks.

The CBP's Office of Professional Responsibility has launched an investigation to "ensure all appropriate policies were followed."

"Unfortunately, despite our best efforts and the best efforts of the medical team treating the child, we were unable to stop this tragedy from occurring. Once again, we are begging parents to not put themselves or their children at risk attempting to enter illegally. Please present yourselves at a port of entry and seek to enter legally and safely," the spokesperson told CNN.

The names of the girl and her father were not released. CNN has reached out to local CBP authorities.

Congressman Joaquin Castro, D-Texas, said late Thursday in a statement he was "devastated by reports that a seven-year-old girl who was taken into Customs and Border Patrol custody died of dehydration and exhaustion. I'll be asking for a full investigation by the Inspector General and Congress into the conditions and circumstances that led to her death."

"We can do better as a nation," said Castro, a member of the House Foreign Affairs and House Intelligence Committees.

"This is a humanitarian crisis and we have a moral obligation to ensure these vulnerable families can safely seek asylum, which is legal under immigration and international law at our borders," Castro's statement said.

'Worst possible outcome'

Cynthia Pompa, advocacy manager for the ACLU Border Rights Center, in a statement called for "a rigorous investigation into how this tragedy happened and serious reforms to prevent future deaths."

"This tragedy represents the worst possible outcome when people, including children, are held in inhumane conditions," the statement said. "Lack of accountability, and a culture of cruelty within CBP have exacerbated policies that lead to migrant deaths. In 2017, migrant deaths increased even as the number of border crossings dramatically decreased."

Democratic Rep. Beto O'Rourke of Texas on Thursday called for transparency in the investigation of the child's death.

"I am deeply saddened by this girl's death. There must be a complete investigation and the results shared with Congress and the public," he tweeted.

The girl's death comes months after a toddler died six weeks after being released from an Immigrations and Customs Enforcement facility in Dilley, Texas. The toddler's mother and her attorneys alleged she contracted a respiratory infection after they arrived to the detention center and ICE provided substandard medical care for the toddler.

The toddler and her mother came from Guatemala and were detained after crossing into the US via the Rio Grande.

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 48524

Reported Deaths: 2698
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Marion11682684
Lake5180242
Elkhart330146
Allen2798132
St. Joseph196466
Cass16389
Hamilton1563101
Hendricks1410100
Johnson1288118
Porter73237
Tippecanoe7268
Madison65964
Clark65544
Bartholomew58644
LaPorte58026
Howard57757
Kosciusko5494
Vanderburgh5486
Marshall4904
Noble48228
Jackson4723
LaGrange4709
Hancock45035
Boone44543
Delaware44550
Shelby42625
Floyd38144
Morgan32931
Monroe30028
Grant29526
Montgomery29420
Clinton2892
Henry27415
Dubois2736
White26510
Decatur25032
Lawrence24625
Dearborn23823
Vigo2358
Harrison21822
Warrick21829
Unassigned193193
Greene18932
Miami1832
Jennings17611
Putnam1698
DeKalb1624
Scott1627
Daviess14317
Wayne1406
Orange13623
Perry1299
Steuben1292
Franklin1248
Jasper1212
Ripley1177
Wabash1122
Carroll1102
Fayette997
Newton9810
Starke933
Whitley925
Gibson812
Huntington812
Randolph794
Wells731
Fulton721
Jefferson722
Jay680
Washington671
Pulaski661
Knox640
Clay604
Rush583
Adams501
Owen491
Benton480
Sullivan451
Posey420
Brown391
Spencer381
Blackford372
Crawford320
Fountain322
Tipton321
Switzerland270
Parke230
Martin220
Ohio170
Vermillion140
Warren141
Union130
Pike110

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 57956

Reported Deaths: 2927
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Franklin10410429
Cuyahoga7883373
Hamilton6019198
Lucas2752302
Marion273438
Pickaway219741
Summit2143206
Montgomery203427
Mahoning1832232
Butler159944
Columbiana130760
Stark1123112
Lorain103567
Trumbull96770
Warren86021
Clark7669
Delaware58215
Fairfield57216
Tuscarawas56710
Belmont54922
Medina52332
Lake50018
Licking49312
Miami46631
Portage44258
Ashtabula43544
Wood42851
Clermont4146
Geauga40742
Wayne36351
Richland3455
Allen32141
Mercer2829
Greene2589
Darke25125
Erie24422
Holmes2363
Huron2202
Madison1978
Ottawa14923
Sandusky13614
Crawford1355
Washington13520
Putnam12815
Ross1273
Hardin12312
Morrow1161
Coshocton1112
Auglaize1074
Monroe8917
Jefferson882
Union861
Muskingum831
Hancock791
Hocking788
Guernsey743
Preble731
Lawrence710
Williams712
Clinton680
Shelby684
Logan621
Fulton610
Ashland591
Athens591
Carroll593
Wyandot596
Brown571
Defiance513
Knox511
Fayette460
Highland451
Scioto410
Champaign401
Perry351
Van Wert350
Seneca342
Henry300
Paulding250
Adams241
Jackson230
Pike230
Vinton222
Gallia181
Harrison121
Meigs120
Morgan110
Noble110
Unassigned00
Fort Wayne
Clear
75° wxIcon
Hi: 80° Lo: 70°
Feels Like: 75°
Angola
Clear
72° wxIcon
Hi: 91° Lo: 69°
Feels Like: 72°
Huntington
Broken Clouds
73° wxIcon
Hi: 90° Lo: 69°
Feels Like: 73°
Decatur
Clear
75° wxIcon
Hi: 91° Lo: 70°
Feels Like: 75°
Van Wert
Clear
75° wxIcon
Hi: 91° Lo: 70°
Feels Like: 75°
Hot Wednesday
WFFT Radar
WFFT Temperatures
WFFT National

Community Events