Search continues for Emily, Arizona girl with leukemia taken by mother from hospital

In this hospital surveillance photo released by the Phoenix Police Department on Monday, Dec. 3, 2012, a woman is seen with her 11-year-old daughter, a leukemia patient who had her arm amputated and a heart catheter inserted due to an infection. Authorities say the woman inexplicably took the girl from the hospital last week. Police say that if the catheter is left in too long it could lead to a deadly infection. The family?s identity is being withheld but they are calling the girl Emily. (AP Photo/Phoenix Police Department)
Dec. 3, 2012 surveillance footage of a woman seen with her 11-year-old daughter, a leukemia patient who had her arm amputated and a heart catheter inserted due to an infection
AP Photo/Phoenix Police Department

(CBS/AP) PHOENIX - Authorities are continuing to search for an 11-year-old girl with leukemia who could die in a matter of days if she isn't brought back to a hospital after her mother removed her last week with a catheter still inserted in the girl's heart.

The girl is only identified as Emily, who had been receiving chemotherapy at Phoenix Children's Hospital for about a month, Phoenix police Sgt. Steve Martos said Monday.

An infection forced doctors to amputate her right arm and insert a catheter in her heart. She left before her scheduled release when her mother removed her IV, changed her clothes and walked her out of the facility Wednesday night.

Police said the girl could contract a deadly infection if the catheter is left in too long.

"If she contracts an infection, it really could just be a matter of days that could result in the young girl's death," Martos said. "It's pretty serious."

Authorities refrained from releasing the parents' names due to health privacy laws, but police said Monday that U.S. Border Patrol stopped the girl's father, 46-year-old Luis Bracamontes, as he crossed into Arizona from Mexico over the weekend.

Bracamontes provided no clues to the girl's whereabouts and denied having any involvement in removing her from the hospital, Martos said. Police released his name, along with that of the girl's mother, 35-year-old Norma Bracamontes, in hopes it will help locate the child.

Neither parent is charged with a crime yet, but authorities want the child brought back to the hospital before it's too late, Martos said. He said the family lives a "nomadic" life without a permanent residence, but they have relatives in Arizona, California and Mexico, none of whom have been able to provide police with information about their whereabouts.

Martos said the girl's father is a Mexican citizen with a U.S. resident alien identification card. The child and her mother are U.S. citizens.

Authorities don't know why the child's parents took her from the hospital, but speculate they might have been concerned with paying the bill.

Surveillance footage shows the mother pushing an IV stand through a hospital hallway. The girl, with her right arm removed above the elbow and wrapped in a bandage, is seen walking beside her.

"We just don't know what their intent was," Martos said. "But this could become extremely serious if she contracts an infection ... Our primary concern is she get the proper medical care so we can prevent obviously the worst case scenario here."

More on Crimesider
Nov. 30, 2012 - Search for girl with cancer who walked away from Arizona hospital with mom