The seven-year-old Guatemalan girl who died after trekking hundreds of miles with her father before illegally entering the U.S. likely suffered from septic shock, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) said.
Jakelin Caal Maquin died December 8 in a hospital in El Paso, Texas, after being brought there by helicopter. She and her father, Nery Gilberto Caal Cuz, were apprehended by U.S. Custom and Border Patrol (CBP) agents along with 161 others on December 6. When she began vomiting hours later, she was airlifted to the hospital, where she died.
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.”- READ MORE