HARLINGEN, Texas (ValleyCentral) — Customs and Border Protection Acting Commissioner,Troy Miller gave a statement regarding the ongoing investigation involving the death of an 8-year-old child while in U.S. Border Patrol custody.
CBP and the Office of Professional Responsibility are currently conducting an investigation of the incident that occurred on May, 17, according to a news release.
“We are deeply saddened by the tragic death of an eight-year-old girl who was in CBP custody with her parents earlier this week,” Miller said.
Additionally Miller stated, the health and safety of the individuals in custody is important as well as ensure those who are in need of medical assistance should receive the best possible care and spend the minimum amount of time in CBP custody.
According to Customs, at approximately 9:34 p.m., on May 9 a group of 47 migrants were found nearly a mile southeast of the Gateway International Port of Entry in Brownsville.
The large group was taken into Border Patrol Custody including a family of five, two parents and three children, ages 8, 13 and 14.
Customs said, the two parents and the two eldest children were Honduran citizens and the 8-year-old daughter was a Panama citizen.
“Records indicate that shortly after being taken into custody, the entire group was moved approximately four tenths of a mile east to the CBP-operated Camp Monument Staging Area where they awaited transportation to the Donna Processing Facility,” CPB said.
At approximately 9:50 p.m., the family was listed to be taken to the Donna Processing Facility and by early morning of May 10 were taken there by bus.
A video reviewed by CBP and OPR personnel, indicated that the family had arrived to the facility at approximately 7:50 p.m. on May, 10.
When the family arrived they moved through various stages of intake and in-processing for the next four hours.
According to the release, at 12:20 p.m. the family entered through a medical screening and was seen interacting with the Customs and Border Protection medical personnel.
“At one point on the video footage, the mother can be seen handing several papers to the medical provider,” CBP said. “CBP records indicate the eight-year-old was medically assessed at this time, did not complain of any acute illnesses or injuries, but the family did report a medical history including the chronic conditions of sickle cell anemia and heart disease.”
After the medical assessment, the mother, 14-year-old and 8-year-old were taken to their housing pod.
CBP and OPR personnel said, at approximately 4:11 p.m. May 11 the mother and 8-year-old were taken to the DPF medical unit and entered the treatment area around 4:45 p.m.
The 8-year-old said she had abdominal pain, nasal congestion and cough. According to the release, medical staff recorded the child’s temperature to be at 101.8 degrees Fahrenheit.
An influenza test was administered and came back positive for Influenza A. Medical personal provided the child with acetaminophen, ibuprofen, and prescribed as well as, administered doses of Oseltamivir (Tamiflu), as well as Ondonsetron (Zofran).
CPB said, the child had a past medical history of cardiomyopathy and had heart surgery at 5-years-old.
“The family reported that she has been stable since the operation, but still requires the continued care of a cardiologist,” CPB stated. “Based on agency protocols, a decision was made to transfer the entire family to the U.S. Border Patrol Station in Harlingen.”
The family was reunited in the out-processing area of DPF around 5:09 p.m., and departed to the Harlingen Border Patrol Station in a van.
Approximately 7:13 p.m. on May 14, the family arrived to the Harlingen Border Patrol Station, immediately medically assessed the child upon arrival.
According to CPB records, the child was administered Tamiflu twice daily as directed on May 15 and May 16. She was also given ibuprofen at 7:45 p.m. on May 16 and at 4:35 on May 17.
“At this time, CBP can confirm that medical records documented that the eight-year-old girl and her mother came to the HRL medical unit at least three times on Wednesday, May 17, 2023,” CPB said.
During the first visit at the HRL medical unit, the child told medical personnel she was vomiting, they provided her with Zofran, instructed to hydrate and return if needed.
At the second visit, she was complaining of a stomach ache to medical personnel. According to the release, medical personnel annotated the child was stable and informed the mother to follow-up if needed.
The final visit was at approximately 1:55 p.m. The mother was seen carrying the child, who appeared to be having a seizure, customs stated.
Moments later the child became unresponsive and medical personnel began to administer CPR and emergency medical services.
Around 2:07 p.m., South Texas Emergency Care Emergency Medical Services arrived at the Harlingen Border Patrol Station, took over lifesaving procedures and transported the mother and child to Valley Baptist Medical Center.
The child was pronounced dead at 2:50 p.m. at Valley Baptist Medical Center, the release stated.
On Friday, an autopsy was performed and revealed an absence of gross physical trauma, presence of pleural effusions within the chest cavity.
The cause of death will be released once the medical examiner has completed the additional forensic medical lab test, that include a toxicology and pathological assays.
CBP will be releasing information in the upcoming days as it becomes available, the release stated.
The investigation in an ongoing investigation.