Migrant girl died at U.S. border from a bacterial infection

The girl was 7-years-old from Guatemala

An autopsy has found that a 7-year-old girl from Guatemala died of a bacterial infection while detained by the U.S. Border Patrol, in a case that drew worldwide attention to the plight of migrant families detained at the southern U.S. border.

The El Paso County Medical Examiner’s office released a report Friday of its findings in the death of 7-year-old Jakelin Caal Maquin. Jakelin died Dec. 8, just over a day after she was apprehended by Border Patrol agents with her father.

The report says traces of streptococcus bacteria were found in Jakelin’s lungs, adrenal gland, liver, and spleen. The autopsy says she faced a “rapidly progressive infection” that led to the failure of multiple organs.

The medical examiner did not determine which form of streptococcus bacteria Jakelin contracted.

Jakelin was one of two children to die in Border Patrol custody in December, raising questions about the agency’s medical practices as it faces a surge in migrant families crossing the southern border.

READ MORE: Mexico braces for new caravan of Central American migrants

U.S. Customs and Border Protection said shortly after Jakelin’s death that she was apprehended with her father, Nery Gilberto Caal Cuz, in a group of 163 migrants at about 9:15 p.m. Dec. 6 in New Mexico. The father signed an English-language form stating Jakelin was in good health, but it remains unclear whether he understood what the form said.

Jakelin and her father boarded a bus at about 4:30 a.m. Dec. 7 from the Antelope Wells port of entry for the Lordsburg station. According to a CBP statement, Jakelin’s father reported just before the bus left at 5 a.m. that she was vomiting.

The bus arrived in Lordsburg about 90 minutes later, CBP said. By then, Jakelin’s temperature had reached 105.7 degrees Fahrenheit (40.9 degrees Celsius). An emergency medical technician had to revive her.

She was flown to a hospital in El Paso, Texas, where she died the next day .

CBP says large groups of migrants are increasingly heading to remote areas of the border such as rural New Mexico, where it has very limited facilities or staff to apprehend and care for them. The Border Patrol recently started releasing families immediately instead of referring them to processing, a step the agency said was necessary to relieve overcrowding in its facilities.

READ MORE: New migrant caravan sets out from Honduras for U.S.

Advocates have long warned that immigration facilities are ill-suited to detain families. After Jakelin’s death, the U.N. special rapporteur on the human rights of migrants urged the U.S. not to detain migrants and called for “a thorough investigation” of her death.

RAICES, a group that provides legal services to detained immigrants, tweeted on Friday: “We will keep fighting for you and the innocent children and their families seeking refuge in this country.”

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Order in the chambers: Qualicum Beach votes for council code of conduct

Coun. Robert Filmer’s motion passes unanimously at town meeting

Rainbow crosswalk in Qualicum Beach covered in mysterious black substance

‘It was disappointing to see this act of disrespect take place inside our community’

Oceanside RCMP hunt for man after pair of indecent exposure incidents

Elderly woman grabbed by man who had been masturbating in the woods

Nanoose Bay’s Northwest Bay Road again open to the public

Single-lane alternating traffic expected to stretch into September

New police force in Surrey must avoid VPD, RCMP errors made in Pickton case: Oppal

Boots are scheduled to be on the ground by spring 2021

B.C. sockeye returns drop as official calls 2019 ‘extremely challenging’

Federal government says officials are seeing the same thing off Alaska and Washington state

B.C. music teacher accused of sexual misconduct involving girls

Police believe other victims could be out there after the arrest of Lamar Victor Alviar

B.C. family stranded in Croatia desperate to come home

Funds being raised to bring back mom and two children

$5-million lotto ticket sold in Nanaimo

Someone matched all six numbers in Wednesday’s 6/49 draw

UPDATE: B.C. man on trial for daughters’ murders says he was ‘tackled’ and ‘stabbed’ in apartment

Andrew Berry takes stand in his defense for December 2017 deaths of young daughters

‘Plenty of time for a deal’: Teachers’ union expects kids back in school on Sept. 3

BCTF says class size, composition at the heart of the issue

Province funds new shuttle buses for 13 B.C. senior centres

Activity, socializing helps maintain health, Adrian Dix says

Most Read