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

PHOTOS: Nelson climate strike packs downtown to demand action

An inter-generational crowd staged a ‘die-in’ as part of the global strike Friday

Nelson’s Cedar Grove Estates affordable housing site to receive $3.2 million in renos

The project was made public during the Nelson CARES annual general meeting

Kootenay Lake ferry to shut down Saturday afternoon

Service to resume Sunday morning at 6:30 a.m.

Mystery illness killing Kootenay bees

Samples being sent to laboratories for analysis

Woman stabbed in downtown Nelson

Victim is in hospital, suspect is in police custody

PHOTOS: Young protesters in B.C. and beyond demand climate change action

Many demonstaers were kids and teens who skipped school to take part

Walmart to quit selling e-cigarettes amid vaping backlash

U.S.’s largest retailer points to ‘growing’ complications in federal, state and local regulations

Former B.C. lifeguard gets house arrest for possession of child porn

Cees Vanderniet of Grand Forks will serve six months of house arrest, then two years’ probation

Crown alleges resentment of ex-wife drove Oak Bay father to kill his daughters

Patrick Weir alleged in his closing arguments that Andrew Berry is responsible for the deaths of his daughters

How to react to Trudeau’s racist photos? With humility, B.C. prof says

‘We are now treating racism as a crime that you cannot recover from’

Victoria man spots online photo of his totem pole 11 years after it was stolen

Mark Trueman restored the pole himself before it was stolen off of his property in Duncan

VIDEO: Fire destroys Williams Lake strip club targeted by past arson attempts

Diamonds and Dust Entertainment Lounge destroyed by fire, as well as New World Tea and Coffee House

Trudeau seeks meeting with Singh to apologize for blackface, brownface photos

‘I will be apologizing to him personally as a racialized Canadian,’ Trudeau said Friday

Charges stayed against Alberta RCMP officer in alleged off-duty Whistler assault

Const. Vernon Hagen instead completed an alternative measures program

Most Read