By Ray Sanchez, CNN |
(CNN)Her name was Jakelin Caal Maquin. She had traveled with her father from a rural indigenous community in Guatemala’s impoverished Alta Verapaz region.
They were among a group of 163 migrants detained by Border Patrol agents the night of December 6 — three days after her birthday — in a remote area of the New Mexico desert, officials said.
Two days later, 7-year-old Jakelin was dead, Customs and Border Protection’s officials said Friday. She had vomited and stopped breathing while in Border Patrol custody. Jakelin later went into cardiac arrest and suffered brain swelling at a Texas hospital.
“Without the lifesaving measures undertaken by Border Patrol, this child would have likely died in the desert alone without any medical care whatsoever,” a Department of Homeland Security official said Friday. “The entire department is heartbroken by this loss of life.”
The department’s Inspector General’s office is investigating the death and said its findings will be released publicly. The US government officials spoke on a conference call with reporters and insisted they not be identified by name.