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

Nelson’s Maglio hired by Spokane Chiefs

Adam Maglio will serve as an assistant coach with the WHL team

Buddhist monument to be dedicated in Slocan cemetery

A new post has been created to mark the site where at least nine Japanese Canadians were cremated

COLUMN: 1919 – Forest fire threatens Rosemont

From the files of the Nelson Daily News

LETTER: A good news story

From reader Lonnie Snyder

School District 8 names new international principal

Jann Schmidt has been an educator for 26 years

VIDEO: Bystander training gains traction as tool to prevent sexual harassment, violence

Julia Gartley was sexually assaulted after an event, and no one stepped in to help

Sexual assaults, extortion on the rise even as crime rates stay low: Stats Canada

Rates of police-reported sexual assault rose for the fourth year in a row

Vancouver Island teens missing after vehicle found ablaze near Dease Lake, BC

RCMP say a body discovered nearby not one of the missing teens

A year later, ceremony commemorates victims of the Danforth shooting

It’s the one-year anniversary of when a man opened fire along the bustling street before shooting and killing himself

Japanese Canadians call on B.C. to go beyond mere apology for historic racism

The federal government apologized in 1988 for its racism against ‘enemy aliens’

B.C. VIEWS: NDP pushes ahead with Crown forest redistribution

This isn’t the time for a radical Indigenous rights agenda

Two dead in two-vehicle crash between Revelstoke and Golden

RCMP are investigating the cause of the crash

Ottawa fights planned class action against RCMP for bullying, intimidation

The current case is more general, applying to employees, including men, who worked for the RCMP

Most Read