The death toll of migrant children in U.S. custody in the past year rose to six on Wednesday after the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) acknowledged to CBS Wednesday the previously unreported death of a 10-year-old migrant girl in its custody.
Mark Weber, a spokesperson for the federal agency that oversees unaccompanied migrant children, said a 10-year-old girl from El Salvador died in the agency’s custody eight months ago, on Sept. 29, 2018. The child was the first migrant minor to die in U.S. custody in the past year.
“Following a surgical procedure, complications left the child in a comatose state. She was transported to a nursing facility in Phoenix, Arizona for palliative care in May after release from a San Antonio hospital,” Weber told CBS. “On September 26, she was transferred to an Omaha, Neb., nursing facility to be closer to her family. On September 29, the child was transported to Children’s Hospital of Omaha where she passed due to fever and respiratory distress.”
On Monday, Customs and Border Protection (CBP) confirmed a 16-year-old Guatemalan boy died while in the agency’s custody.
The Hill notes:
Last week, a 2-year-old died after being hospitalized for pneumonia, following high fever and difficulty breathing.
Sixteen-year-old Juan de León Gutiérrez died in April following “several days of intensive care” at a hospital after falling ill while in the custody of the HHS.
In December, two children, 7-year-old Jakelin Caal Maquin and 8-year-old Felipe Alonzo Gomez, died in custody, prompting a review of CBP policy.