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An 8-year-old Guatemalan child detained by U.S. Customs and Border Protection died early Tuesday at a hospital in New Mexico, the agency reported. The unidentified child is the second border-crosser to die in government custody this month.
Seven-year-old Jakelin Caal, another Guatemalan national, died Dec. 8 of dehydration and shock, less than a day after she was apprehended by border agents. In the second case, an agent noticed Monday that the child had become ill. The boy and his father were taken to Gerald Champion Regional Medical Center in Alamogordo, N.M, where the boy was diagnosed with a cold, according to a CBP news release.
Later, he was found to have a fever and was held for an additional 90 minutes before he was released with prescriptions for an antibiotic and Ibuprofen. But the child became more seriously ill Monday night, when he vomited, and was taken back to the hospital. He died shortly after midnight on Christmas Day.
Jakelin’s family has disputed CBP reports that the child went several days without food and water before she died, saying she was healthy when she arrived in the United States. In a news conference earlier this month, a migrant advocate said the girl’s father, 29-year-old Nery Caal, had told him that Jakelin was healthy and had no preexisting conditions.