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Guatemalan toddler apprehended at U.S.-Mexico border dies after weeks in hospital

Guatemalan child dies after crossing border
Guatemalan child dies after crossing border 00:27

A 2-and-a-half-year-old Guatemalan child who was apprehended at the U.S.-Mexico border in El Paso has died, CBS News has confirmed. The child is the fourth migrant child to die since December after being apprehended at the U.S.-Mexico border.

A Customs and Border Protection (CBP) official familiar with the case told CBS News the family encountered Border Patrol agents at Paso Del Norte Bridge on April 3. On April 6, the mother was advised the child was ill and the child was transported to a nearby hospital. A day later, the child was transported to a children's hospital. The family was given a notice to appear in court and was released on their own recognizance April 8.

The Guatemalan Consular General in El Paso, Tekandi Paniagua, said the child died Wednesday. The mother is still in El Paso but is not in custody.

The child was not identified. The child and mother crossed the border just days after acting Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan said at a press conference in El Paso there is "unprecedented humanitarian and border crisis all along our southwest border, and nowhere has that crisis manifested more acutely than here in El Paso." 

Border Patrol scrambles to move migrants from overcrowded facilities in Texas 04:37

The news of the child's death was first reported by The Washington Post

All four children who have died after crossing the border came from Guatemala. Most recently, a 16-year-old boy died April 30 after being apprehended by border patrol agents near El Paso on April 19. The boy, Juan de León Gutiérrez, was sent to a Brownsville, Texas, facility for unaccompanied migrant children, where staff noticed a few days later that he appeared ill. He died nine days in a hospital bed. The Guatemalan Foreign Ministry said in a statement that Gutiérrez died from complications from an infection in his brain's frontal lobe.

A 7-year-old girl, Jakelin Caal Maquin, died of a bacterial infection Dec. 8 after being in Border Patrol Custody. An 8-year-old boy, Felipe Gómez Alonzo, died on Christmas Eve.

On Thursday, in a case outside the U.S., Mexico's National Institute of Migration reported that a 10-year-old Guatemalan girl died in Mexico on Wednesday evening.

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