7-Year-Old Migrant Girl Died of Sepsis, Not Dehydration, Officials Confirm
Seven-year-old Guatemalan girl, Jakelin Caal Maquin, died of septic shock, DHS reveals
Department of Homeland Security officials have confirmed that the seven-year-old Guatemalan girl, who died in the US after traveling 2000 miles before crossing the border illegally with her father, likely suffered septic shock.
Jakelin CaalMaquin was flown by helicopter to a hospital in El Paso, Texas where she passed away on December 9 after attempts to revive her failed.
The child and her father, Nery Gilberto Caal Cuz, were picked up on December 6 by U.S. Custom and Border Patrol (CBP) agents in a group of 163 Central American migrants who had managed to cross the border.
She began vomiting hours later, while still in the care of CPD, and was airlifted to the hospital, where she later died.
Sadly, the young child's death prompted some media outlets to politicize the tragedy and push a political agenda by falsely claiming she died as a result of the actions of border agents and/or President Trump's policies.
The false reports triggered a backlash, even prompting demonstrations from other Central American migrants.
According to the Daily Wire, Sepsis is an infection in the body that can cause septic shock, which can damage multiple organ systems and cause blood pressure to drop dramatically, leading to death.
The CBP initially said the girl “reportedly had not eaten or consumed water for several days," but the DHS — in a far more detailed timeline of what occurred — said her father had told officials his daughter "had not been able to consume water or food for days."
The DHS said CBP agents screened all those apprehended for health issues.
"The initial screening revealed no evidence of health issues," the DHS said in a statement Friday.
"During the screening, the father denied that either he or his daughter were ill."
"Authorities said the denial was recorded on a federal form signed by Caal, who speaks an indigenous dialect," NBC News reported.
"At this time, they were offered water and food and had access to restrooms," DHS said.
In the timeline, DHS says the large group of illegal aliens was apprehended at 9:15 p.m. by three CBP agents.
They were taken to the Forward Operating Base Bounds in a remote area of New Mexico, adjacent to the Antelope Wells Port of Entry.
There, they were broken into groups for transport to the nearest Border Patrol Station in Lordsburg some 90 minutes away.
After a bus took the first group of 50 there and returned, Jakelin and her father boarded the bus at 5 a.m.
When they arrived at the station, Caal told authorities his daughter was not breathing. CBP emergency medical staff began administering medical care.
"At this point, her temperature was 105.9 degrees," the DHS said.
"Agents providing medical care revived the child twice."
"A decision was made to transport her by helicopter to a hospital (Lordsburg is more than four hours the El Paso Hospital by vehicle). A helicopter arrived at 0730 and departed at 0748," the DHS said.
"She arrived at Providence Children’s Hospital in El Paso, Texas at 0851. Border Patrol agents transported the father by vehicle to the hospital.
"The child received emergency room care and was transferred to the Pediatric ICU for additional care. Unfortunately, she passed away at 0035 on December 8, 2018."
Guatemalan Consul Tekandi Paniagua told CNN on Saturday that Jakelin's father told him that agents did everything they possibly could to help his daughter.
"Caal did not speak to the media Saturday, but in a statement issued by his lawyers, he said he was 'grateful for the many first responders that tried to save young Jakelin's life in New Mexico and Texas,'" CNN reported.
But Caal has hired lawyers Enrique Morneo and Elena Esparza to handle his case.
The attorneys now say that “Jakelin had not been crossing the desert for days. Jakelin’s father took care of Jakelin — made sure she was fed and had sufficient water,” and that they “sought asylum from the Border Patrol as soon as they crossed the border.”
That contradicts what the father told DHS officials, that his daughter "had not been able to consume water or food for days."
The pair of lawyers also reportedly issued a threat to DHS, warning spokespeople for the agency to cease “further speculation about her cause of death" because making "premature and inaccurate statements undermine the integrity of the investigation.”
The DHS expressed sadness for Jakelin's death but noted that crossing the border is highly dangerous.
"Her death is incredibly tragic. The entire DHS family offers her family their prayers and thoughts.
"Unfortunately, her death is not unique. Each year, the Border Patrol identifies hundreds of people who either die attempting to illegally enter the United States, are injured in the attempt, or have to be rescued by Border Patrol.
"This past year alone Border Patrol rescued 4,311 people in distress."
"While rarely reported, this flood of injured or sick persons encountering our Border Patrol has resulted in the Border Patrol cross-training 1300 agents as EMTs," the DHS said.
"In this case, unfortunately, we did not encounter the child sooner."
Read the full DHS statement below:
DHS Statement on Tragic Death of Minor at BorderLast week, on December 6, 2018, a child traveling with her father illegally entered the United States near Antelope Wells, New Mexico. After completing a days-long, dangerous journey through remote and barren terrain, the child, who according to the father had not been able to consume water or food for days, began vomiting, went into sepsis shock and after receiving emergency treatment from U.S. Border Patrol Emergency Response Technicians (EMTs), air paramedics and emergency room personnel, died.
Her death is incredibly tragic. The entire DHS family offers her family their prayers and thoughts. Unfortunately, her death is not unique. Each year, the Border Patrol identifies hundreds of people who either die attempting to illegally enter the United States, are injured in the attempt, or have to be rescued by Border Patrol. This past year alone Border Patrol rescued 4,311 people in distress. While rarely reported, this flood of injured or sick persons encountering our Border Patrol has resulted in the Border Patrol cross-training 1300 agents as EMTs. In this case, unfortunately, we did not encounter the child sooner.
As we have repeatedly said, traveling north illegally into the United States is extremely dangerous. Drug cartels, human smugglers and the elements pose deadly risks to anyone who attempts to cross the border illegally. Once again, we are begging parents to not put themselves or their children at risk by attempting to enter illegally. Please, we are begging you, present yourselves and your children at a port of entry and seek to enter legally and safely.
Below is a more in depth timeline of the event on December 6, 2018, prior to the child’s death on December 8, 2018. On December 6, 2018, at 2115 hours, a seven-year old Guatemalan minor and her father were apprehended within a group of 163 aliens near Forward Operating Base (FOB) Bounds. This is in a remote area of New Mexico adjacent to the Antelope Wells Port of Entry (POE). This large group was apprehended by three Border Patrol agents.
Given the remote location and size of the group they were moved to a covered area within the Bounds FOB (adjacent to the POE). Upon apprehension, the Border Patrol agents conducted an initial screening, which consists of an interview and observation of the detainee to identify any health or safety problems to ensure that they receive necessary medical care. The initial screening revealed no evidence of health issues. During the screening, the father denied that either he or his daughter were ill. This denial was recorded on Form I-779 signed by the father. At this time, they were offered water and food and had access to restrooms.
The Bounds POE and Antelope Wells POE were not constructed to hold any sizeable population of detainees. Therefore, those apprehended in this area are promptly transported to the nearest Border Patrol Station in Lordsburg – approximately 90 minutes away.
Around 2200, a transport bus was moved from the Lordsburg Border Patrol Station to FOB Bounds. It took around two hours for the bus to arrive at Bounds. Given the size of the group, and the capacity of the transport (50 people at a time), agents began transporting the detainees to Lordsburg in separate groups. The first group – unaccompanied alien children - left Bounds for Lordsburg at 0018 on December 7, 2018. It took the bus more than three hours to complete the round trip and return to Bounds for a second group of detainees. The bus returned to Bounds at 0400.
Around 0500, as the second group of detainees – including the child and father – was preparing to depart Bounds, the father advised Border Patrol agents that his child had become sick and was vomiting. Out of an abundance of caution, agents immediately requested that an EMT meet the bus on arrival at the Lordsburg station.
The transport bus arrived at the Lordsburg station shortly before 0630. At that point, the father notified agents that the child was not breathing. Border Patrol EMTs began medical care and requested an ambulance. At this point her temperature was 105.9 degrees. Agents providing medical care revived the child twice. An ambulance arrived at 0640. A decision was made to transport her by helicopter to a hospital (Lordsburg is more than four hours the El Paso Hospital by vehicle). A helicopter arrived at 0730 and departed at 0748. She arrived at Providence Children’s Hospital in El Paso, Texas at 0851. Border Patrol agents transported the father by vehicle to the hospital. The child received emergency room care and was transferred to the Pediatric ICU for additional care. Unfortunately, she passed away at 0035 on December 8, 2018. The initial indication from the Providence Hospital is that she passed due to sepsis shock. Her father was with her. The Guatemalan consulate was notified.
As stated above, the entire DHS community offers their condolences to the family of this child. We thank those Border Patrol agents who rendered life extending aide, and the first responders and emergency medical professionals in New Mexico and Texas who did all they could to save this child.